NASA Rocket Crashes With Kentucky Space Satellite on Board

by Gabe Bullard on March 4, 2011

A NASA rocket that crashed into the Pacific Ocean Friday was carrying a satellite developed by the Kentucky Space group. But  the loss was relatively minor.

Kentucky Space president Kris Kimel says these crashes are unfortunate, but not unheard of, and his agency will launch more satellites soon.

“We do have a backup and we’re hoping to fly that backup in the next twelve months,” he says. “We have another satellite that we’ve been building with the University of Rome that’s supposed to launch in April or the end of this month. So we may be launching another satellite that we’re involved with within the month.”

This was Kentucky Space’s first attempt to send a satellite into orbit. The device contained communications equipment and was among three student-designed satellites on board the rocket. Kimel says NASA has likely lost hundreds of millions of dollars on the rocket, but Kentucky Space is only out the cost of development.

“It’s hard to say how much,” he says. “The launch itself, we weren’t paying for the launch itself. But we obviously had invested about a $100,000 or so at minimum in the development of the satellite.”

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