Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

February 27, 2013

More to come

MSU Space Center plans to launch a series of satellites

ASHLAND — Scientists at Morehead State University’s Space Center are hoping that success breeds success, and that last fall’s successful launching of the first satellite completely designed and built in Kentucky will lead to the launching of a series of small satellites under the director of the MSU Space Center. If so, MSU will be able to offer space science students hands-on training and experience that is available at only a handful of campuses in the United States.

To be sure, the MSU-built satellite launched last September as part of the secondary payload on a NASA rocket is small, only about the size of a loaf of bread. But the small CXBN satellite makes pace accessible and affordable for small universities like MSU and for the private sector.

While the MSU Space Center gained a measure of prestige and recognition by successfully putting its first satellite into orbit, the CXBN has not performed as well as hoped while orbiting the Earth. While the satellite was a success in terms of packaging the technology and getting it into orbit, it has failed to deliver measurements as precise as needed, said Space Center Director Ben Malphrus.

But the first satellite’s shortcomings have become a learning experience for MSU scientists and their students. Scientists are designing a revised and improved CXBN that they hope will provide more precise measurements,

In fact, Malphrus envisions a series of satellites being built in Morehead being launched to data scientists would use to produce the “most precise measurement ever made of the diffuse X-ray background emanating from the early universe.”

It probably will be another two years before the next Kentucky-built satellite is ready to be launched.  In the meantime, scientists at the MSU Space Center will be working eliminate the shortcoming of the first satellite and sharing what they learn with their students. Morehead State is the only university in Kentucky and one of only a handful of schools in the country to offer an undergraduate degree in space science. 

The long-range goal of the satellites MSU hopes to put into orbit is mapping the entire sky. It likely will take decades to accomplish that. In the meantime, MSU students will be using the Space Center and its satellites to receive an first-rate education.

Who would have ever thought a small university in the eastern Kentucky hills would be a leader in mapping a universe that seemingly has no end?

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Along the river

    Here’s hoping the weather will be as close to perfect as possible on the evening of May 30, as members of the Paul G. Blazer High School class of 2014 gather on the banks of Ohio River for the school’s first graduation on the river that has helped fuel this community’s economy since the time when it was known as known as Poage’s Landing.

    April 22, 2014

  • Good opportunity

    Morehead State University is using a highly successful program for outstanding high school juniors and seniors at Western Kentucky University to launch a similar program beginning this fall on the MSU campus.

    April 20, 2014

  • What's next?

    While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO region with its own electrical company.
     

    April 13, 2014

  • 'Waited too long'

    Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 straight months in combat.

    April 12, 2014

  • Enact HB 3

    The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is under way hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky in Orlando, Fla., but the three-day conference which runs through Thursday, was organized by Operation UNITE, the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group that knows all too well the devastating impact the prescription drug epidemic continues to have on this region.

    April 11, 2014

  • State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer

    Kentucky’s war against the tiny emerald ash borer responsible for already killing more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States has ended in surrender — by state officials, not the tiny insect.

    April 8, 2014

  • Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues

    The steady demise of the once thriving clothing industry in small Kentucky towns continues with the latest factory to announce it is shutting down being one of the largest: Fruit of the Loom has announced it is closing its last remaining plant in Jamestown, a move that eventually will see the elimination of more than 600 jobs in the small town near Lake Cumberland.

    April 7, 2014

  • None on ballot

    The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly considered an unusually high number of proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution on such issues as casino gambling, the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and the elimination of state and local elected offices.

    April 4, 2014

  • In Your View

    Letters to the editor

    April 3, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014