Twyman Clements, Space Systems Engineer at Kentucky Space, has agreed to provide regular updates to blog readers on the progress of the next satellite now that the X-ray hunter, “CXBN,” has flown. His first installment can be read below. Enjoy.
Here at Kentucky Space we are furiously at work on the consortium’s next satellite. While our engineering work is moving along on KySat-2 (drawing below) we wanted to start “K2 Tuesday’s” to update readers on the progress of the spacecraft, as well as introduce them to basic satellite systems and some of the people who will be working on it. I wanted to start with a little history of Kentucky Space’s orbital satellite program.
Kentucky Space began as a consortium of universities within the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 2006. From the beginning students worked on KySat-1, the state’s first orbital satellite. Through the next few years the students and university faculty learned the in’s and out’s of spacecraft design, testing and communication. KySat-1 (pictured on clean room bench, Above) was eventually selected as one of three primary satellites on NASA’s first ELaNa mission which was eventually launched in March of 2010, along with the NASA GLORY spacecraft. KySat-1 was a one-unit (1U) CubeSat that rode to orbit as a secondary payload. Sadly, due to a launch anomaly with the rocket, none of the payloads made orbit. But Kentucky Space and its partner institutions have continued to work, and Morehead State University’s “CXBN” satellite was launched just weeks ago.
KySat-2, or “K2,” will fulfill the original mission of KySat-1, but will incorporate even better components and the added knowledge acquired the past few years by Kentucky Space. K2 will include an attitude determination system, which will also serve as a camera that will take pictures of both the earth and star fields. Additionally the spacecraft will transmit telemetry in the amateur radio spectrum allowing HAM radio operators to capture it and check the health of the spacecraft as it makes its way around the globe every 90 or so minutes.
Currently KySat-2 is serving as a backup secondary payload on two NASA missions slated for launch in Q3 of 2013. This means delivery dates to the launch site in April or May of 2013. The satellites subsystem are currently being designed with prototypes being ordered this week. Within the next six weeks we will be putting together a FlatSat version of KySat-2 to test communication between its subsystems and refining the spacecraft software. We will keep you up to date through the entire process.
I’ll be back next Tuesday with another update. Until then,
Twyman Clements, Space Systems Engineer, Kentucky Space