- Kenya’s first operational 3U Earth Observation Satellite will take place in Vandenberg Base, California, UDA abroad Falcon-9 Rocket.
- The satellite will provide data for decision support to agriculture and food security, natural resources management, and environmental monitoring among other details.
- This project will play a pivotal role in putting Kenya on the global map.
The Kenya Space Agency is set to launch Kenya’s first operational 3U Earth Observation Satellite, Taifa-1 satellite. The launch is scheduled for April 11, 2023, and will take place in Vandenberg Base, California, UDA abroad Falcon-9 Rocket. It is set to be aided by Space exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX).
According to the Ministry of Defence and KSA, the mission is designed to provide precise and timely earth observation satellite data to stakeholders in the diverse fields of application including agriculture and food security. It will provide data for decision support for agriculture and food security, natural resources management, and environmental monitoring among other details. The objective of this mission will also be to “develop Kenya’s technical capacity on the whole value chain of space technology development and applications.”
The acting director of KSA Brig Hillary Kipkosey believes that this mission will play a pivotal role in putting Kenya on the global map because it contributes significantly to the growth of satellite development, data analysis, and processing and development of applications. He said, “Space is the next frontier in many ways and we are happy to be part of this. This is our moment of pride.” He also said that space science, technologies, and applications are vital enablers across all productive sectors of the national economy and that they are seeking to have capacity building on space systems engineering, space operations, data processing and analytics, Ground Station services, and operations. “We are looking at technology demonstrator on what capabilities or flexibilities we can realize with own/sovereign Earth observation asset.”
A team of Kenyan engineers has fully executed the construction and design of the satellite. The parts’ manufacturing and testing were done in collaboration with Endurosat AD, a Bulgarian aerospace manufacturer. This is because it is expensive to construct it locally, officials said.
Kenya will have a nanosatellite to weigh one ton because it is cost-effective in development and launch, takes less development time between design and operation, and provides space solutions for many countries that may not be capable of launching large satellites.
It also enables faster advancement of space technology and is easy to launch constellations as multiple satellites can be established by one rocket. KSA said the launch mission is the product of a design and development process that has been conducted for over two years.
The Taifa-1 satellite is a huge milestone for Kenya’s space program and will potentially contribute significantly to spurring the growth of the satellite development, data analytics and processing, and applications development capabilities of Kenya’s budding space economy. It is the first stepping stone to developing what is planned to be a constellation of small earth observation satellites for Kenya. It is also a capacity-building effort for Kenya’s engineers in space systems engineering, space operations, ground receiver station operations, mission control, and satellite data acquisition and processing. The successful launch and function of the satellite will not only demonstrate Kenya’s technical capacity but also provide valuable data and information for various applications.
The KSA has invited partners and stakeholders to join in marking this important milestone and celebrating Kenya’s moment of national pride and space heritage.
Its primary objective was to build capacity in satellite development through the development of a complete space mission in Kenya. Kenya has been part of several globally significant milestones in space science and technology through the Malindi Space Centre (formerly the San Marco Project) jointly managed by the Italian Space Agency and the Kenya Space Agency. The Kenya Space Agency offers its services to both levels of government, National and County Governments. KSA is supporting National Government line ministries in developing the capacity to utilize space-derived data for decision support.