If you were watching NASA TV on March 27, you saw a Terrier-Improved Malemute NASA rocket blast off from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia carrying Frontier 1, a 4-pound spacecraft designed and built by Kentucky Space.
It ejected from the launch vehicle successfully and went into space 167 miles above the Earth, its planned trajectory soon bringing it back down to burn up on re-entry into the atmosphere. However, it completed its mission of testing hardware and software systems to be flown on an orbital satellite called KentuckySat 1, scheduled to launch with the NASA Glory Mission in November 2010.
The March event was the first time Kentucky has ever developed, built and successfully inserted a free-flying craft into space.
Kentucky Space is a nonprofit consortium involving students and the resources of UK, Morehead State, UofL, Western, Murray State, KCTCS, the Kentucky Space Grant Consortium and Belcan, with support from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. Kentucky Science and Technology Corp. is managing partner.
Students are involved in designing and developing educational, R&D and entrepreneurial space platforms. Kentucky Space also recently formed a joint venture with NanoRacks LLC, a Houston-based aerospace company, to facilitate and undertake scientific research on the International Space Station.
“This unique partnership among Kentucky’s higher education institutions, state government and private industry shows that the commonwealth is a bastion of high-tech, 21st-century learning, as well as limitless economic opportunity,” said Gov. Steve Beshear.
Spread the word. Meanwhile, good luck in November!