The human and technical infrastructure for space exploration in Kentucky continues to grow.
Announced by Dr. Ben Malphrus during IdeaFestival - Aerospace held earlier this week, Kentucky Space partner Morehead State University will build a small spacecraft called a "Cubesat" to prospect for lunar water ice. Morehead State News:
Morehead State University and its partners, the Busek Company (Natick MA), NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center (GSFC in Greenbelt MD), and the Catholic University of America (CUA), will develop and build a 6U CubeSat designed to prospect for water ice and other lunar volatiles from a low-perigee lunar orbit flying only 100 km (62 miles) above the lunar surface. The Lunar IceCube will be deployed during lunar trajectory by the SLS (which will be the most powerful rocket ever built) and use an innovative RF Ion engine to achieve lunar capture and the science orbit to allow the team to make systematic measurements of lunar water features. The science goals are to investigate the distribution of water and other volatiles, as a function of time of day, latitude, and regolith composition/mineralogy.
Dr. Malphrus is the head of the Space Science Center at MSU, and is the principal investigator. Click through the above link for more on the award and spacecraft instrumentation and payload.
Congratulations to the team at Morehead State University. Well done!