Keith Hautala

By

College: Engineering

Sky is No Limit for Engineering Students

Published: Sep 17, 2013

See video

Video by UK Public Relations and Marketing

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 17, 2013) — University of Kentucky students are often encouraged to "reach for the stars" in establishing their goals. A group of UK engineering students have done literally just that.

 

In November, the satellite they built will be launched into space.

 

The UK students worked in conjunction with their peers at Morehead State University, under the auspices of the Kentucky Space consortium. The team put in long hours for much of the past year — in addition to their regular classes and assignments — to design, build and test the satellite, named KySat-2.

 

"It's a phenomenal educational opportunity," says James Lumpp, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering  and director of the UK Space Systems Laboratory. "We have had both undergraduate and graduate students working on the project, even some high school interns."

 

KySat-2 was built to the CubeSat picosatellite standard, which restricts its volume to one liter (about a 4-inch cube, roughly the size of a tissue box) and its mass to one kilogram (2.2 pounds).  CubeSat was created to bring small, affordable satellite technology within reach of educational and research institutions. The Kentucky Space consortium is one of a couple dozen or so CubeSat programs operating in the United States.

 

Yesterday, UK student and manager of the UK team, Jason Rexroat, was in Albuquerque to deliver KySat-2 in person, where it was loaded onto a carrier with other CubeSats from around the country. From there, the satellites will be transported to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, where they will be launched on an unmanned rocket Nov. 4. 

 

"We're one of just a handful of universities that have a program like this," said Rexroat, a UK electrical engineering graduate student who started working in the Space Systems Laboratory after his freshman year, in the summer of 2009. "It's rare for students to get hands-on experience with an actual space engineering project."

 

UK's CubeSat program is supported by grants from NASA, including support from the UK-hosted NASA Kentucky Space Grant and EPSCoR Programs. NASA Kentucky funds opportunities for faculty and students across Kentucky to work with NASA researchers. The students who work in the UK Space Systems Lab, many of them undergraduates, are paid employees of the university. Most other CubeSat programs are either club-based and dependent on volunteers, or they are curricular projects that involve large numbers of students working for course credit.

 

"We are in a fairly unique position in that we have a small number of students who are able to really dedicate themselves to work on the mission," said Steve Alvarado, an electrical engineering senior. "It has been a lot of long hours and a lot of sleepless nights."

 

Despite its tiny size, KySat-2 is loaded with complex electronics, including an onboard computer, a digital camera, lithium-ion batteries, solar electric panels and a ham radio transceiver. 

 

Once launched, KySat-2 will orbit about 500 km (roughly 300 miles) above the Earth, whizzing around the planet once every 90 minutes or so at speeds close to 8 km/s (18,000 mph). The team will be able to track its position from the ground using software. Two or three times a day, KySat-2 will be a tiny blip on the horizon over Lexington, for about 10 minutes at each pass.

 

During that brief window, the team will be able to make direct contact with KySat-2 over ham radio frequencies from a ground station in UK's F. Paul Anderson Tower. KySat-2 will send back data, including starfield photos taken with its onboard camera. The team will also be able to make connections at other times via Genso, a network of radio amateur and university ground stations around the world. There are also plans to use a mobile ground station to communicate with the satellite, in an educational outreach mission with local K-12 schools.

 

KySat-2 is the second Kentucky Space satellite to be built. KySat-1 was built over a period of five years, starting in 2006. Although fully tested and flight-qualified to NASA standards, KySat-1 never achieved orbit. The first Kentucky satellite was lost on March 4, 2011, as part of NASA's unsuccessful Glory mission.

 

"This is engineering in the extreme," Lumpp says. "Everything that goes into space has to withstand extreme changes in temperature, vacuum, exposure to radiation, intense vibration — virtually every sort of stress you can imagine. When you work in space you have to accept that there's going to be a certain amount of failure. It's just part of the game."

 

The KySat-2 team members are all too aware of the seemingly infinite number of things that could go wrong, but they try not to think about it too much. 

 

"We've built it to NASA standards, we've bench tested it and put it through all of its paces numerous times," Rexroat said. "Once we hand it over, it's literally out of our hands. We have to just hope for the best."

 

Chris Mitchell, a computer engineering senior, acknowledges that it will be a long six weeks of waiting from now until launch day.

 

"Each of us has a huge emotional investment in the mission," he said. "Obviously we all want it to work perfectly."

 

Still, Alvarado is confident that all the hard work and sleepless nights will pay off:  

"It will all be worth it for those five seconds, when we receive our first packets of data."

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Keith Hautala, 859-323-2396; keith.hautala@uky.edu

kysat-01.jpgkysat-02.jpgkysat-03.jpg
Tags:
March
1
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sun
2
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Resume & Cover Letters that Work
Mon
3
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Grad Salute
2nd Annual UK Work-Life Summer Camps Fair
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Keeping Your Brain Healthy
Successful Networking & Job Search
Guest Lecture
Documentary Screening: "Forgotten Wars, Forgotten Victims"
Bangladeshi Garment Worker Speak Out
A Reading by Nic Brown
CatWatch Party #3
Tue
4
LNFS Presents: The Mighty Ducks
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Internship Info Session
Grad Salute
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Art Therapy Table
OUTspoken with J Mase III
CANCELED: Appalachian Forum with Crystal Wilkinson entitled: Birds of Opulence: Black Women, Madness, and Resilience in Appalachia
Wed
5
LNFS Presents: Typeface
LNFS Presents: Space Jam
Grad Salute
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Food for Hope
Thu
6
LNFS Presents: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
LNFS Presents: Pokémon: The First Movie
Cultural Coffee Hour
Grad Salute
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Japan Today
Fri
7
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Karnival Around The World
Graduate & Professional School Prep:KAPLAN Free Practice Test for MCAT and LSAT
PharmD Open House
Sat
8
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sun
9
Midterm of 2015 Spring Semester
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
GUEST LECTURE
Appalachian Forum with Rebecca Klenk, Topic: Global Uttarakhand: Development, Neoliberalism and Social Justice in Himalayan India
Ballroom Thieves
Mon
10
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Job Club: Staying Positive During A Job Search
Massage on the Go #2
Tue
11
LNFS Presents: Only Lovers Left Alive
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Jin Shin Jyutsu Self-Help Class
Leadership Assessment
#TrendingTopics: Immunization
True Songs
Wed
12
LNFS Presents: Into the Woods
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Free Spring Break Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
LNFS Presents: Waiting for 'Superman'
Thu
13
LNFS Presents: Vertigo
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Free Spring Break Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
LNFS Presents: Trainspotting
Fri
14
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sat
15
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sun
16
Spring 2015 Spring Vacation
Mon
17
Spring 2015 Spring Vacation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Tue
18
Spring 2015 Spring Vacation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wed
19
Spring 2015 Spring Vacation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Thu
20
Spring 2015 Spring Vacation
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Plating Design Demonstration with Dan Wu
Fri
21
Spring 2015 Spring Vacation
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sat
22
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sun
23
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
"Thrive: The Kentucky Wine Tradition" Documentary Screening
Mon
24
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Job Club: A Snapshot of the Central Kentucky Labor Market
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 1 p.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 2 p.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 3 p.m.
Kentucky Teacher's Network Career Fair
Tue
25
LNFS Presents: Rear Window
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Internship Info Session
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Healthy Smoothie Demonstration
Cultural Diversity Festival: Ten Thousand Villages
Virtual Dementia Tour
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 1 p.m.
Healthy Smoothie Demonstration
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 2 p.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 3 p.m.
Barred for Life: A Conversation on Mass Incarceration
Women of the World: Rosario Dawson
Wed
26
LNFS Presents: The Imitation Game
LNFS Presents: Blade Runner
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Student & Employer Mixer
Young Artists Exhibit Reception
Thu
27
LNFS Presents: Psycho
LNFS Presents: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
UK Woman's Club Craft and Bake Sale
Northeast Florida’s Late Archaic Mortuary Mounds: Memory, Community, and Environment.
Fri
28
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sat
29
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Lion King Trip
The Voice of Lexington Chinese Singing Competetion
Sun
30
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Mon
31
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
A Reading by Jim Gavin
Tue
 
 
 
 
Mar 31
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation 03/31/2015

Tue, 03/31/2015

Wed, 04/01/2015

Repeats every week until Thu Apr 30 2015 except Wed Mar 18 2015.
Wed, 04/01/2015

Repeats every week until Wed May 06 2015 except Wed Mar 18 2015.
Wed, 04/01/2015

Reset Page