KySat-1 will be on the Glory mission set to launch in November 2010.
Gov. Steve Beshear today announced that Kentucky Space has received the official launch assignment from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for its first satellite, KySat-1 on the Glory mission set to launch in November 2010.
Kentucky Space is a nonprofit enterprise involved in designing and developing entrepreneurial and educational space platforms. It is a consortium involving the combined resources and capacity of the University of Kentucky, Morehead State University, University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University, Murray State University, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, The Kentucky Space Grant Consortium, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and Belcan. The managing partner and founder of the Kentucky Space consortium is the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation.
"Kentucky Space is a an example of exactly the kind of innovative ideas and ventures that Kentucky is capable of and that will form the basis for the creation of dynamic new companies and high paying jobs across the state," said Gov. Beshear.
This week, NASA announced that it will launch small research satellites for several universities as part of the agency’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellite, or ELaNA, mission. The satellites are manifested as an auxiliary payload on the Taurus XL launch vehicle for NASA’s Glory mission, planned for liftoff in late November.
In addition to Kentucky Space, the satellites selected for the launch come from Montana State University and the University of Colorado. The University of Florida was selected as an alternate in case one of the three primary spacecraft cannot fly.
The satellites, called CubeSats because of their shape, are in a class of small research spacecraft called picosatellites. They have a size of approximately four inches, a volume of about one quart and weigh no more than 2.2 pounds.
To place these satellites into orbit by an agency expendable launch vehicle, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is adapting the Poly-Picosatellite Orbital Deployer, or PPOD. This deployment system, designed and manufactured by the California Polytechnic State University in partnership with Stanford University, has flown previously on Department of Defense and commercial launch vehicles.
The Kentucky vehicle is called KySat-1. It includes a camera to support a scientific outreach program intended for, but not limited to, Kentucky students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The satellite also has a 2.4-gigahertz industrial, scientific and medical band radio, which will be used to test high-bandwidth communications in the license-free portion of the S-band.
The satellites will hitch a ride to space with the Taurus rocket’s primary payload, NASA’s Glory spacecraft. The Glory climate mission, developed by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, will extend the nearly 30-year record of precise measurements of the sun's energy output. It also will obtain first-ever, global measurements of the distribution of tiny airborne aerosol particles. Aerosols represent one of the greatest areas of uncertainty in understanding Earth's climate system.
The ELaNA project is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy. The Glory mission news release from NASA is available here.