Kentucky Space announced today the scheduled launch of its first near space (high-altitude balloon) mission at 11:00 AM (CST) on Monday, July 14 at the Bowling Green/Warren County Regional Airport. This launch marks the beginning of a new Kentucky Space initiative involving upper atmospheric experiments and research.
Kentucky Space is an ambitious enterprise involving a consortium of universities and private and public organizations for the purpose of pursuing space related R&D, innovation, education and small spacecraft design, launch and operation.
This mission”Balloon-1”will carry a scientific payload designed and built by Kentucky Space college and university students. The payload aboard the balloon is expected to reach an altitude of 100,000 ft. (nearly 20 miles). At this altitude the experiments will reach the upper regions of the Earth’s stratosphere, where intense interactions among radiative, dynamical, and chemical processes are studied to better understand the Earth’s atmosphere and climate.
A key science payload carried by Balloon-1 involves a magnetometer and an inertial measurement unit, or IMU, which is the main component of inertial guidance systems used in air and spacecraft, including guided missiles. These instruments will record valuable data at the edge of space for attitude control and determination and will aid in the design of future Kentucky Space orbital satellites. Other experiments will also be undertaken in preparation for future orbital missions.
In addition, the mission will carry an experimental communication package to be tested for possible use in the event of a major natural or related disaster in Kentucky. Balloon-1 will also involve prototype instruments and sensors that will be used in conjunction with other experiments in future flights to study regional climate change. Cameras will video the flight, viewing the Bluegrass from the edge of space.
The collected data will be transmitted over VHF, for live tracking on launch day by anyone through a special internet link and recovery by mobile Earth stations operated by the students and Kentucky Space mission advisors.
Advising Kentucky Space for this mission is the High Altitude Research Corporation out of Huntsville, Alabama.
Individuals should check the Kentucky Space website for the latest Balloon-1 launch information.
KySat Enterprise Members are: University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Western Kentucky University, Kentucky Space Grant Consortium, Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Belcan, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation, Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (Managing Partner).