Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)


September 14, 2012

Kentucky-built satellite reaches earth orbit

Sept. 14, 2012 — MOREHEAD, Ky.---Morehead State University and its partners have announced the launch and on-orbit deployment of the first satellite entirely built in Kentucky that was successfully launched into Earth orbit. The Cosmic X-Ray Background Nanosatellite (CXBN) is a loaf of bread sized, five pound nanosatellite designed to be one of the first “cubesats” to undertake a significant science mission. The goal of the CXBN mission is to significantly increase the precision of measurements of the Cosmic X-Ray Background emanating from the explosive birth of the universe some 13.8 billion years ago. Measurements made by the satellite’s X-ray detector will constrain models that attempt to explain the relative contribution of proposed sources lending insight into the underlying physics of the early universe.


The satellite launched at 5:38 p.m. on Sept. 13 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California as a secondary payload on the Department of Defense NROL-36 mission. The defense satellite and eight smaller satellites collectively referred to as OUTSat (Operationally Unique Technology Satellite) were lofted to a 500 km orbit above the Earth on an Atlas V rocket.


CXBN was selected by NASA in 2011 for the flight opportunity through NASA’s Educational Launch of a Nanosatellite (ELaNa) program. The satellite was entirely built in Kentucky at Morehead State University, and its payload, an innovative Cadmium-Zinc-Telluride X-ray detector, referred to as the science array, was built at Black Forest Engineering in Colorado.


Students and faculty of the Morehead State University Space Science Center and its partners designed, fabricated, tested, and delivered the satellite to NASA in one year. Partnering on the project with Morehead State were Kentucky Space LLC, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, Noqsi Aerospace, Black Forest Engineering and Little H-Bar Ranch. Dr. Ben Malphrus, chair of MSU’s Department of Earth and Space Science, serves as principle investigator on the project, leading the team to completion and delivery of the satellite on the extremely compressed one-year timeline. Dr. Garrett Jernigan, formerly of the University of California at Berkeley and currently with Little H-Bar Ranch, is the Project Scientist and designed the science array. Assistant professor of space science Kevin Brown and Tyler Rose, student engineering team leader, led a team of engineers and scientists at the Space Science Center in designing, building and testing the satellite.

Text Only
  • VIDEO: Texas shoppers smash window to rescue children in hot car

    Shoppers in Texas took matter into their own hands, smashing a Jeep's windows with a hammer when they say they saw two young children inside the hot car. The children's mother reportedly said she left them while she went to get a haircut.

    July 16, 2014

  • 140516-recalls_1357_88cb85dbc81b724b4ae9c83db4426fd8.jpg Auto recalls break single-year US record with six months to go

    With six months left in 2014, automakers have already recalled more vehicles in the United States than in any other year on record.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scientists exposed to anthrax as U.S. lab procedures break down

    About 75 scientists may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria in government labs after the material was mishandled while being used in experiments, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

    June 25, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 10.17.35 AM.png VIDEO: Twin twisters in Nebraska

    Storm chasers captured some incredible footage of a pair of tornadoes on the ground near the northeast Nebraska village of Pilger earlier on Monday.

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alison_Lundergan_Grimes_2011.jpg Kentucky Senate race hangs on coal counties that rejected Obama

    President Barack Obama's decision to propose tougher limits on power-plant emissions poses a threat to Democrats in the coal-rich mountainsides of Kentucky and to their efforts to keep control of the Senate.

    June 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • airplanes-work-1.jpg Airfare honesty? It may be an oxymoron

    The issue of fare advertising has taken on a renewed sense of urgency now that Congress is considering removing the Transportation Department's full-fare advertising rule, which requires airlines and ticket sellers to display a price that you can actually book.

    May 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Is hashtag activism better than doing nothing? Or about the same?

    More than 1 million people — including first lady Michelle Obama — have tweeted the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. But whether they're helping the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria or hopping on some kind of first-world digital bandwagon depends, frankly, on whom you ask.

    May 14, 2014

  • A mom, a printer, and the new digital ease of counterfeiting

    Tarshema Brice hardly ranks among the world's elite counterfeiters. But with the help of modern consumer technology, she developed an exacting system for crafting fake U.S. greenbacks.

    May 14, 2014

  • The secrets behind Starbucks' secret menu

    You see, Starbucks has gone well beyond allowing people to build custom orders around its traditional coffee drinks.
    Last weekend, before my daughter and I left home, she had already searched for "Starbucks secret menu" on the computer and narrowed her choices to a handful of drinks (all of which involved various ingredients from Starbucks' menu for adult drinks)

    May 7, 2014

  • Your phone may not have the right to remain silent

    Big Brother would have loved your smartphone. It not only knows where you've been and who's in touch with you but also records your photos, texts, e-mails and social media exchanges. Linked to the cloud, it allows access to your entire digital lifespan, including financial and medical records.

    April 30, 2014