Kentucky Space blog readers, Space Systems Engineer Twyman Clements brings you KySat-2 updates in the "K-2 Tuesdays" series.

With our second "K2 Tuesday" series entry, I wanted to do two things: to explain some of the design features of KySat-2 and to give everyone the current status. 

Next week we talk about the subsystems in more depth.

Why is KySat-2 shaped like it is?

The satellite is shaped this way because it is a "CubeSat." The CubeSat standard was developed by Professor Bob Twiggs of Stanford University (now at Kentucky Space partner institution Morehead State University) and Jordi Puig-Suari of Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo. This miniature class of satellites must meet certain mechanical dimensions. That standard is open to the public (have a look here at the standard). KySat-2 is classified as a 1U CubeSat which means the external dimensions of its frame are 100 mm x 100 mm x 113.5mm, or about four inches on a side. These satellites are also modular, which means they come in one, two and three unit variations. Cubesats are launched from a standard deployer called a P-POD, or Poly Picosat Orbital Deployer, often by piggybacking on rockets with much, much larger satellites. P-PODs can deploy three one-unit CubeSats or a one three-unite cube.


Why does K2 have deployable panels?

Power is everything in satellites. It dictates what you can do, as well as what and how you can transmit your data. In KySat-1 we only had the panels that were mounted to outside of the spacecraft. This meant we were very limited in the power we could generate. Certain systems had to be turned OFF and ON to save power, which dictated data transmit windows. We were generally very constrained on power. So we decided to add deployable panels, which, when stowed with the satellit in the P-POD will look like the image above. After release, the panels will deploy - as in the image on the left. Now we have twice the surface to collect energy from the sun. More power generation means more flexibility in subsystem design. We will detail the power system of KySat-2 in a later "K2 Tuesday."  

Current Status:

Within the last week Kentucky Space has:

  • Received the prototype board spin of the power management system
  • Order the development board spins of the C&DH system
  • Ordered the flight and engineering model radios 

Until next week,

Twyman Clements

Space Systems Engineer, Kentucky Space