"Almost all of our space tech is built by students. NASA has very stringent quality controls, so this is a huge achievement," he added.
Indeed, this is the kind of space collaboration that NASA is looking for since President Obama's redirection of space exploration priorities.
When speaking with Kimel, I was especially interested to hear how Kentucky Space operates. "It's kind of a ‘mash-up'," he told me when describing the range of groups that made this endeavor possible. There are university researchers, students, enthusiasts and now, by teaming up with NanoRacks LLC, they have a strong partnership with a profit-making organization.
Kentucky Space and NanoRacks will offer their system to research groups to house their own experiments (while still providing CubeLab support), but Kimel pointed out that his organization will be carrying out experiments of their own, focusing on the microgravity biomedical field.
Space Research can be Ubiquitous
So could this be the future of space research? Kimel thinks so, after all, you don't often associate the state of Kentucky with cutting edge space research! Space is ubiquitous; once launch and technology costs are pushed lower, a wider range of non-profit and for-profit organizations can get involved, no matter where they are located and whether or not they are funded by governments.