KySat-1 is the state of Kentucky’s first satellite that was entirely designed, built, and tested by university students. The primary mission is educational outreach to both the university students who worked on the satellite and to K-12 students and teachers, ultimately providing opportunities for hands-on learning in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) disciplines. Once in orbit, the satellite will transmit on amateur radio bands allowing communication between ground and orbit with standard HAM radio equipment. To this end, the satellite payload includes a digital camera and high bandwidth S-band radio to permit photo downloads, as well as a high powered UHF/VHF radio to allow satellite communication using small portable ground stations that can be easily set up on the playground or parking lot of a school.
Lesson plans and equipment loan programs are being developed for teachers to augment STEM lessons in the classroom. The KySat-1 program is managed by the nonprofit organization Kentucky Space while design, construction, and testing occurred at the University of Kentucky in Lexington and Morehead State University. Ground stations at both universities will track the satellite once in orbit. Students at both schools will jointly manage a website for students, teachers, and the general public, to providing constant updates of KySat-1’s location and telemetry.