NASA Selects Kentucky Spacecraft for 2009 Mission – To be Launched in 2009


FRANKFORT, Ky.—Kentucky Space today announced that its first orbital satellite, KySat-1, has been selected by NASA to fly on a mission projected for launch in mid-2009.


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.


“This highly innovative Kentucky effort is the epitome of the talent that lies within our state,” said Gov. Beshear. “The Commonwealth has been, and will continue to be, aggressive in its pursuit of technological and knowledge-driven economic opportunities.”

KySat-1, the first satellite ever built in Kentucky, is a cube shaped pico-class satellite powered by solar energy, weighs 1 kg and measures 10cm on a side. 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 18-24 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 this research and development of this project.


Kentucky Space, a consortium of universities, public organizations and companies, has launched a series of sub-orbital and near space missions; however, this selection by NASA marks a historic first for the program and for Kentucky. This is also the first time NASA will launch university built satellites into orbit.


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. This announcement is expected as soon as December 2008. The KYSat-1 team has been asked to be prepared for a June 2009 launch


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