Mission typeTechnology
OperatorKentucky Space
Mission duration18-24 months (planned)
Failed to orbit
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type1U CubeSat
ManufacturerKentucky Space
Launch mass1 kg (2.2 lb)
Dimensions10 cm × 10 cm × 10 cm (3.9 in × 3.9 in × 3.9 in)
PowerSolar cells and batteries
Start of mission
Launch date4 March 2011, 10:09:43 UTC
RocketTaurus-XL 3110
Launch siteVandenberg, LC-576E
ContractorOrbital Sciences Corporation
Entered serviceFailed to orbit
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit (planned)
RegimeLow Earth orbit

KySat-1 was an American satellite which was to have been operated by Kentucky Space. Designed to operate for eighteen to twenty four months, it was lost in a launch failure in March 2011 after the Taurus launch vehicle carrying it failed to achieve orbit.[1][2]

Spacecraft description

KySat-1 was a single-unit CubeSat picosatellite which was built as part of a programme to involve and interest schoolchildren in spaceflight. Children would have been given access to the satellite; uploading and downloading data and using a camera aboard the spacecraft to produce images of the Earth. The satellite also carried a secondary technology demonstration payload; investigating the use of S-band communication at high bandwidths.[3]


KySat-1 was launched by Orbital Sciences Corporation using a Taurus-XL 3110 launch vehicle flying from Launch Complex 576E at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It was a secondary payload on the launch, with the primary payload being the NASA Glory spacecraft. Hermes and Explorer-1 Prime were launched aboard the same rocket. The launch took place at 10:09:43 UTC on 4 March 2011,[4] and ended in failure after the payload fairing failed to separate from around the spacecraft just under three minutes after launch. With the fairing still attached, the launch vehicle had too much mass to achieve orbit, and reentered over the southern Pacific Ocean or the Antarctic.[5][6] It was the second consecutive failure of a Taurus launch vehicle, following the loss of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory in 2009.[6]


  1. ^ Gunter, Krebs (23 September 2019). "KySat 1". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  2. ^ "Taurus rocket nose shroud dooms another NASA satellite". Spaceflight Now. March 2011.
  3. ^ "Kentucky Space receives launch assignment from NASA". Kentucky Space. 27 January 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  4. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Report. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  5. ^ Harwood, William (4 March 2011). "NASA science satellite lost in Taurus launch failure". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  6. ^ a b McDowell, Jonathan (16 March 2011). "Issue 639". Jonathan's Space Report. Retrieved 23 April 2011.