Kenya to launch first satellite next week
The Kenya Space Agency (KSA) has announced that the country will launch its first operational satellite next week in a landmark achievement for the country’s space program.
Codenamed Taifa-1, or Nation-1 in Swahili, the project is scheduled to be launched on April 11, 2023, with the assistance of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The event will take place at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The satellite will provide data for decision support to agriculture and food security, natural resources management, and environmental monitoring among other details.
KSA Acting Director Brig Hillary Kipkosgey hailed the mission saying that it plays a pivotal role in articulating Kenya’s contribution to the growth of satellite development.
“Space is the next frontier in many ways and we are happy to be part of this. This is our moment of pride” KSA’s acting director Bring Hillary Kipkoskey said.
The observation satellite is “fully designed and developed” by Kenyan engineers and will be used to provide data on agriculture and food security, among other areas, the statement said.
The observation satellite is “fully designed and developed” by Kenyan engineers and will be used to provide data on agriculture and food security, among other areas, the statement said. Kenya is dealing with its worst drought in decades after several failed rain seasons.
The Ministry also said that testing and manufacturing of the parts were done in collaboration with a Bulgarian aerospace manufacturer.
The satellite launch will add to a push by African nations for scientific innovation and the development of space programs. Egypt was the first African country to send a satellite into space in 1998.
In 2018, Kenya launched its first experimental nano-satellite from the International Space Station. As of 2022, at least 13 African countries had manufactured 48 satellites, according to Space in Africa, a Nigeria-based firm that tracks African space programs.