If you haven't seen it, here is the winning Armadillo flight from the Northrup Grumman Lunar Lander challenge.
The selection of KySat-1 comes after a rigorous national review process by the NASA Launch Services Program of the Flight Projects Office at Kennedy Space Center. Satellites from the University of Colorado and Montana State University were also chosen for the mission.
'This highly innovative Kentucky effort is the epitome of the talent that lies within our state,' said Gov. Beshear. 'The Commonwealth has been, and will continue to be, aggressive in its pursuit of technological and knowledge-driven economic opportunities.'
KySat-1, the first satellite ever built in Kentucky, is a
cube shaped pico-class satellite powered by solar energy, weighs 1 kg and
measures 10cm on a side. Once KySat’s on-board computers confirm its release
into orbit, Kentucky Space ground controllers in Kentucky will operate the satellite
for the duration of its expected 18-24 month mission. After proper operation
is confirmed, KySat-1 will be made available to K-12 students throughout
Kentucky, and the world, to allow them to issue select commands to the
satellite and download the data received. The Commonwealth of Kentucky has
invested approximately $850,000 over the last three years on this research
and development of this project.
Kentucky Space, a consortium of universities, public organizations and companies, has launched a series of sub-orbital and near space missions; however, this selection by NASA marks a historic first for the program and for Kentucky. This is also the first time NASA will launch university built satellites into orbit.
The recommendations made by the launch panel and the NASA Flight Projects Office are being forwarded to NASA Headquarters for final approval and designation of the primary NASA mission. This announcement is expected as soon as December 2008. The KYSat-1 team has been asked to be prepared for a June 2009 launch.
Kentucky Gov. Beshear dropped by today for a brief visit to Kentucky Space. Graduate student Daniel Erb, white shirt, explains a bit about the program while Dr. Jim Lumpp (beard) looks on.
Kris Kimel, president of the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, the managing partner for Kentucky Space, explained how the program was developing expertise in miniaturization technologies, and how commercial and scientific space opportunities were now opening up for willing entrepreneurs.
In the third image, Gov. Beshear listens while another graduate student, Tyler Doering (out of the picture), explains that communications technologies built into the cubesat will enable Kentucky school children to interact with it.
On the other side of the window is the Kentucky Space clean room on the University of Kentucky campus with the cubesat and hardware from Kentucky Space suborbital and high-altitude balloon missions visible.
Two seemingly unlikely contenders are locked in space race, according to Daily Galaxy, each funding telescopes that will collect unprecedented imaging from space.
...the future Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, partially funded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates... is projected for ‘first light’ in 2014 in Chile's Atacama Desert - the world's Southern Hemisphere space - observatory mecca. The 8.4-meter telescope will be able to survey the entire visible sky deeply in multiple colors every week with its 3-billion pixel digital camera. The telescope will probe the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy, and it will open a movie-like window on objects that change or move rapidly: exploding supernovae, potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids and distant Kuiper Belt objects.
In a "relentless campaign of 15 second exposures,"
LSST is truly an Internet telescope, which will put terabytes of data each night into the hands of anyone that wants to explore it. The 8.4-metre LSST telescope and the 3-gigapixel camera are thus a shared resource for all humanity — the ultimate network peripheral device to explore the universe (hyperlink supplied).
For its part, Google is partially funding a proposed space-borne telescope said to be capable of finding perhaps a thousand new planetary systems within two years following first light. It will look for transiting exoplanets and funnel that data to Google's web application, Google Sky.
Given enough funding, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite could begin its work as early as 2012.
History was made on Wednesday when India launched the Chandrayaan-1 destined for a fly-by of the Moon.
The rocket and the satellite are home-grown, and it cements India’s reputation for having the finest, most robust, unmanned space program. The satellite is expected to reach the Moon in 15 days, beginning a two year, $80 million dollar mapping of the mineral and chemical composition of the lunar surface.
Analysts are pointing to a new space race, this one involving the Asian economic powerhouses, from China to Japan to South Korea, all of which are developing their own space programs. But the motivation is not solely to stay with their geographical neighbors; rather it has, I think, a lot to do with something far more primordial.
I remember the story of the French prime minister visiting Jimmy Carter. Carter held in his hand some of our advanced resolution shots of a political hot zone. When the prime minister asked to take a look, Carter refused. The Prime Minister left the Oval Office furious, found out the technology was no longer that unique, and thus was born SPOT Image, the French remote sensing system.
Our policy makers never seem to understand that technology never pauses in its development and its de-centralization.
India is not investing in a lunar probe because of China or Japan or America. Maybe the politicians, but not the people.
They do so for the same true reason we did decades ago: because they can, and if you can forget all the politics for one brief moment, isn’t that wonderful?
Nice quote below. By orienting the craft toward the sun, the MESSENGER team was able to use the resulting solar pressure - in effect, a solar sailing technique - to fine tune the trajectory of the spacecraft on its second flyby of Mercury, achieving a record for precision. It missed its targeted altitude by only .6 kilometers, according to the blog, Musings of a MESSENGER Fellow.
That’s pretty remarkable targeting, given that MESSENGER has traveled 668 million kilometers since its last deep space maneuver in March, [MESSENGER Mission Design Lead Jim] McAdams says. 'It’s as if we shot an arrow from New York to a target in Los Angeles – nudged it three times mid-stream with a soft breath – and arrived within the width of the arrow’s shaft at the target.'
Above is an artist's impression of the long, steep cliffs that extend for hundreds of kilometers on Mercury¹s surface in both Mariner 10 and MESSENGER images. These giant cliffs are believed to have formed when Mercury's interior cooled and the entire planet shrank slightly as a result.
Credit: Michael Carroll/Alien Volcanoes by Lopes and Carroll, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.
Conformal coating is a very thin (~3 mil) acrylic coating applied to all of our hardware. This coating is used to protect the electronics during the rough vibration of launch, as well as during handling and assembly. It is a small insulating layer that will protect against electrical static discharge. Should a small metal piece break, it could prevent a short from happening.
We have been working with Byran Gillespie from Creation Technologies here in Lexington who helped us pick out, design the procedure, and perform all the coating. It's a delicate process. For example, you want to ensure you mask off all areas that you don't wanted coated, such as the connectors, and inspect the boards to ensure they are covered exactly as intended. We do this to ensure that no coating is applied to any of the connectors where we need to make a solid electrical contact. On orbit, we also don't want to block any of the Sun's energy, so we don't want any coating on top of our solar cells.
The manufacture of the coating also includes a UV additive to the coating, which will cause the coating to fluoresce under black light. A couple of pictures with two engineering model boards - one coated and one not - are included here. In the solar cell array picture all of the boards are coated. The final picture shows all of the coated hardware under the black light. Click the images to enlarge.