Morehead State University will soon be home to a second NASA space antenna

Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 5:14 PM EST
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MOREHEAD, Ky. (WKYT) - A second space training antenna used by NASA will soon be a new landmark on an eastern Kentucky campus.

The spring semester is back in session at Morehead State University, and while students make their way to class, a large fixture hovering above is tracking activity millions of miles away.

“It’s primarily used now for tracking deep space,” said Dr. Ben Malphrus, MSU Space Science Center’s executive director.

The new antenna shipped from California will focus on low Earth orbiting.

“We’re talking about several hundred kilometers to a thousand kilometers up,” Dr. Malphrus said.

Students can send commands from Morehead to outer space.

“You send radio waves up and they turn it around and send it back and it helps you figure out where the space craft is and how it’s moving,” Dr. Malphrus said.

The new antenna will be built 200 feet apart from the 21-meter antenna overlooking campus and the city of Morehead.

“We’re trying to take these outstanding young people with incredible skills and many of them get to stay and work here in the aerospace industry in Kentucky,” Dr. Malphrus said.

He said those students will sit and operate missions.

“Our graduates are working at all of the NASA centers, aerospace companies all around the country,” Dr. Malphrus said.

It’s a mission for education that’s launching now and scheduled to be completed at the end of 2022.

Morehead State’s Space Science Center is also working on building a spacecraft that will orbit the moon later this year.

A NASA team will be visiting MSU’s campus next week.

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