Kentucky Space’s first orbital satellite, KySat-1, has been selected by NASA to fly on a mission projected for launch in mid-2009.
Kentucky Space, a consortium of universities, public organizations and companies, has launched a series of sub-orbital and near space missions, but this selection by NASA marks a historic first for the program and for Kentucky. It is also the first time NASA will launch university-built satellites into orbit.
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.
KySat-1, the first satellite ever built in Kentucky, is a cube-shaped satellite powered by solar energy, weighing 1 kilogram.
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- to 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 the research and development of this project.
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.