MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — Scientists at Morehead State University have made contact with a satellite built by the school that was launched into space in September.
The Independent (http://bit.ly/VQxFf8) cited a statement from the university in reporting that the next step will be to assist the Cosmic X-Ray Background Nanosatellite perform experiments, including taking measurements that could add insight to physics of the early universe.
The satellite was one of many launched on a U.S. Department of Defense rocket on Sept. 13. Scientists expect it to remain in orbit for about a decade.
The newspaper reports that if the device is operational, it will be the first satellite built entirely in Kentucky to be launched and deployed.
Morehead State scientists recently detected the radio signal, which means the device and its subsystems are still operating. Scientists will start the systems that control experiments after spending the next few weeks testing the satellite's different systems. A successful mission would prove that small satellites could effectively perform a variety of functions.
Dr. Ben Malphrus, who chairs the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at MSU, has served as principal investigator on the project. He led a team of students and faculty at MSU's Space Science Center to build, test and deliver the device, which is about the size of a loaf of bread, to NASA in a one-year time frame.
The school partnered on the project with Kentucky Space LLC, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, Noqsi Aerospace, Black Forest Engineering and Little H-Bar ranch.
"It is very exciting to see all of the spacecraft systems are a 'go' at this early critical stage of the mission," said Kris Kimel, president of Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation and CEO of Kentucky Space.
Kentucky Space and its partners tried to launch a similar satellite in 2010, but the experiment was unsuccessful when the rocket failed.
Information from: The Independent, http://www.dailyindependent.com