A coalition of Kentucky universities and organizations recently announced the creation of KentuckySat, a joint enterprise to design, build, launch and operate small satellites for education, research and economic innovation purposes. The primary mission of KySat is to train students in the dynamics of spacecraft design, construction, launch and operation and to support accompanying education and research applications.
“KySat represents the kind of bold and innovative initiative that Kentucky must pursue on a number of levels if it’s going to be truly technologically, educationally and economically competitive in the global marketplace.”
- Kris Kimel, President
KySat is a Pico-class, cube-shaped satellite. Its mass is less than one kilogram. Once in orbit, KySat will be made available at no cost to Kentucky students, teachers, schools and universities for educational and research uses, including communications capability, temperature monitoring, current, voltage and science sensors and photography using an onboard camera.
The KySat partnership is comprised of Morehead State University, Murray State University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University, Kentucky Space Grant Consortium, the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation and the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC), which is the managing partner.
Lead mission partners include Stanford Space and Systems Development Laboratory (SSDL), NASA Ames Research Center, Kids Aren’t Too Young for Satellites (KatySat) and California Polytechnic State University, which will serve as the launch integrator. Kentucky Virtual University is the virtual network partner maintaining remote communications among all parties.
“KySat represents the kind of bold and innovative initiative that Kentucky must pursue on a number of levels if it’s going to be truly technologically, educationally and economically competitive in the global marketplace,” said Kris Kimel, president of KSTC.
KySat emerged through the work of the KSTC’s Advanced Concept Office, which was created in 2004 at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.
The collaborations among the postsecondary institutions result from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education’s Strategy for Statewide Engineering Education. The multi-layered engineering strategy is designed to increase the number of engineers in the state in order to boost the state’s economic competitiveness and address regional issues of access and productivity in engineering education.
“KySat will be instrumental in expanding the engineering pipeline by creating exciting learning opportunities for students,” explained CPE President Tom Layzell. “KySat will help our institutions increase their capacity to recruit, educate and graduate additional engineers.”
A design/build team of Kentucky undergraduate and graduate students, who are currently taking part in remote satellite design classes from NASA Ames, will spend the summer at NASA Ames working on satellite design and construction with Stanford graduate students and faculty, NASA Ames researchers, KatySat personnel and other spacecraft development professionals in the Silicon Valley region.
By the end of summer, the KySat engineering model will be completed. The actual flight model is scheduled to be built in Kentucky during the fall of 2006. Plans now call for a launch of KySat1 in mid-to-late 2007.
KySat will involve an ongoing series of satellite design, build and launch projects, which will take place at 12-18 month intervals.
A copy of the full KySat information document is available at www.kstc.com.