Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

February 17, 2013

More satellites from MSU on the way

MOREHEAD — Scientists at Morehead State University are hoping to build and fly on NASA missions a series of satellites based on one they built and launched into orbit last year.

The satellites would collect data scientists would use “to produce the most precise measurement ever made of the diffuse X-ray background emanating from the early universe,” said Ben Malphrus, chairman of the earth and space sciences department and director of the MSU Space Science Center.

“This work and these measurements will provide insight into the physics of the early universe,” Malphrus said.

The satellite is the CXBN, one of the breadloaf-sized cubesats that are revolutionizing space missions, making space accessible to smaller universities and the private sector.

The acronym stands for cosmic X-ray background nanosatellite, and the measurements it takes will help scientists understand more about the origins of the universe.

The CXBN -2 would be an improved version that would make more precise measurements.

When the first satellite was launched in September 2012 as a secondary payload on a NASA rocket, it marked the first launch and successful orbital deployment and operation of a satellite entirely built in Kentucky.

It was built entirely at Morehead State by students and faculty at the space science center.

The satellite in orbit now was mostly successful in terms of packaging the technology and getting it into orbit, but less so in delivering measurements as precise as needed, Malphrus said.

What scientists learned from the first satellite’s shortcomings they will use in designing the revised one, and Malphrus envisions a series of satellites, all made in Morehead.

 The cubesat format was invented by MSU professor Bob Twiggs in 2004 during his tenure at Stanford University. The term refers to a miniaturized satellite built to specific dimensions and often using off-the-shelf electronics, making them affordable and compatible with NASA launch rockets.

The next mission for the revised satellite is a couple of years in the future, and a long-range goal is mapping the entire sky, Malphrus said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Local in brief: 7/23/14

    The inaugual Ride for Autism will be Aug. 23, starting and ending at Callihan’s American Pub & Grill at the Kyova Mall, including a stop at Carter Caves State Resort Park.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723trailtown.jpg First lady recognizes Morehead Trail Town status

    Kentucky first lady Jane Beshear said Morehead’s achievement in finally reaching “Trail Town” certification exemplifies the strength and dedication of the small town community during her address Tuesday at the Rowan County Arts Center.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • McConnell co-sponsors bill to protect correctional officers

    U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell co-sponsored legislation to help protect correctional officers and staff at Federal Bureau of Prison (BOP) facilities.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723copshots1.JPG Focus on law enforcement

    Members of several local and regional law enforcement agencies hit the streets of downtown Ashland Tuesday armed with digital cameras and assignment sheets as they completed in-service photography instruction through the Department of Criminal Justice.

    July 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Obama admin. says health subsidies will continue

    A federal appeals court delivered a potentially serious setback to President Barack Obama's health care law Tuesday, imperiling billions of dollars in subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who bought policies.

    July 22, 2014

  • State’s longest trail system turns 35

    The Sheltowee Trace was officially dedicated as part of the National Recreation Trail system in 1979. After 35 years, the trail remains Kentucky’s longest distance trail, estimated at 307 miles.
     

    July 21, 2014

  • Pancake releases new album

    The top of the Sky Tower in downtown Ashland was booming Saturday night with music from Larry Pancake’s new album “Fair Weather Friend.”
     

    July 21, 2014

  • Telephone scammer fleeces man of $5,000

    A telephone scammer claimed another area victim when a Williams Avenue man paid $5,000 after the con artist told him he had won a sweepstakes but had to pay taxes on the prize money before collecting it, according to Ashland Police Department reports.
     

    July 21, 2014

  • Murder defendant pleads guilty on lesser charge, sentenced to 8 years

    One of four charged with murder in a 2008 double killing pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Monday just before his trial was to start.

    July 21, 2014

  • MIA Rush Marine to rest in Arlington

    Finding Dottie McCoy’s uncle after 71 years was the biggest part of the struggle.

    July 21, 2014