Student-built satellite to be launched into space

From left to right, Jason Rexrote, a electrical engineering grad student, and Twyman Clements, a UK grad currently employed at Kentucky Space, work on a satellite that will be launched into space in Lexington, Ky., on Wednesday, September 11, 2013. Photo by Eleanor Hasken | Staff

From left to right, Jason Rexroat, a electrical engineering grad student, and Twyman Clements, a UK grad currently employed at Kentucky Space, work on a satellite that will be launched into space in Lexington, Ky., on Wednesday, September 11, 2013. Photo by Eleanor Hasken | Staff

By Morgan Eads | News Editor
meads@kykernel.com
A satellite built partially by UK students will be launched into space in early November.

The satellite is a result of a collaboration between UK, Morehead State University and Kentucky Space.

The small box-shaped satellite will be packed up and shipped to Albuquerque, New Mexico Thursday.

Knowing that the satellite will soon be leaving the lab creates a few different emotions, electrical engineering graduate student Jason Rexroat said.

“It’s a lot of excitement,” Rexroat said. “A lot of nervousness.”

The group began working on the satellite in August of 2012.

“It’s been eight or nine months of thinking of nothing else,” Rexroat said. “It has been 50-60 hours a week for months.”

Knowing that the satellite they have worked so hard on will be launched into space in months is an exciting thought, Rexroat said.

“Our finger prints, our DNA is all over it,” Rexroat said.

While performing the last tests on satellite, the crew waited anxiously for it to spring open, like it will after launch.

“If it’s this stressful in the lab, imagine how it will be when it launches,” said Lumpp, associate professor of electrical engineering.

Rexroat will meet the satellite in Albuquerque and help load it onto a rocket.

From there, the satellite will travel to Virginia, where it will later be launched into space.

The satellite from Kentucky and a number of satellites from other universities will pop out of the rocket upon entering space, Lumpp said.

“It’s almost a big jack-n-the box launcher,” Lumpp said.

The satellite will feed back a variety of data.

It has a camera, magnetic sensors and other data collectors that will allow scientists to make observations about stars, Rexroat said.

The program launching the satellite has a number of other space-related projects that go largely unnoticed by campus.

“I think a lot of people really don’t realize it’s here,” Rexroat said. “It’s really pretty great experience for a college student.”