I first heard the phrase "playground events" at the 2008 Kentucky Space seminar and it's stuck with me ever since.
The vision of building a Kentucky space program with Kentucky talent can't be achieved without engaging kids in primary school. So it's no coincidence that there has been a lot of thought given to showing them how exciting space can be.
Creating playground events is one way to build early enthusiasm.
As part of that effort, KySpace launched its first high altitude balloon last summer from the Bowling Green airport and invited children to come out and contribute a payload, pongsats, that flew along with the serious hardware. It was, as UK Engineering Professor Jim Lumpp described, a really good day, and more such launches are planned.
As shown in the pictures here and described by Tyler Doering, the lead graduate student for KySat-1, the basic idea for bringing an orbital mission to kids is to take portable equipment to playgrounds and let them interact with and listen to their satellite.
In addition to the VHF/UHF radio, an S-band radio on board KySat-1 will be used in conjunction with the 21 meter dish at the Space Sciences Center at Morehead State University for communication. More on that, as well as how Kentucky Space has been able to help a German cubesat project, "Compass One," can be found here.
[Update] If you're dropping by from the Carnival of Space, Dr. David Livingston will host Kris Kimel, who founded Kentucky Space, on his Dec. 23 show. Links to the times and live audio for the The Space Show may be found here.