Kenya is known as the “home” of innovations and technological advancements in Africa, a name its determined to keep as its set to make history this coming Friday (11th May 2018) with its launch of its first locally made satellite from the Japan Space Agency(JAXA) Tsubuka Space Centre in Tokyo, Japan at 1pm Kenyan time.
The satellite is the Nano-Satellite type name 1KNUS-PF (First Kenyan University Nano Satellite-Precursor Flight) developed by researchers & students of the University of Nairobi in partnership with the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA). This small satellite is the first outer space object registered by kenya and the first Kenyan satellite that will go space orbit. Kenya becomes the 6th country in Africa to launch its own satellite after the likes of Ghana, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt & South Africa. The launch is after the 1KNUS-PF was the first CubeSat selected to be deployed from kibo (a Japanese Experiment Module of the Space Station (ISS)) in the 2016 UNOOSA international competitive grant where the University of Nairobi won.
According to the Dean, School of Engineering, college of Architecture and Engineering, UON. “The successful deployment of the 1KNUS-PF will be a stepping stone for Kenyan scientists and engineers to develop bigger high resolution satellites (3U CubeSat) which have a large amount of scientific and technological value for the country”. The satellite to launch is a 1U CubeSat (10cm x 10cm x 10cm) payload which consists of two commercial cameras and experimental web audio upload and broadcast capable of limited earth observation and audio broadcast.
The university of Nairobi has invited the public to the viewing of the launch, anyone interested will be required to register here. This viewing is to take place from 12:00pm to 2:00pm Kenyan time. For those who won’t be able to reserve a seat at the auditorium do not worry KBC Channel 1 has you covered as the media house will be broadcasting the event Live.
Just like Nigeria where their satellites have been instrumental to research, security and monitoring the oil-rich Niger Delta the Kenyan satellite with a life span of 12 to 18 months will be used to track farming trends and offering information on coastal evolution.
We at Incubate Africa wish Kenya the best of luck during the launch and urge all African Institutions of higher Learning to embrace partnerships with other organisations to foster more research & technological advancements. It would be a great idea if all African Countries can have a satellite in space or even better if the countries came together to form a single space agency to foster space exploration by Africans. However achieving this might be a tall order due to the different dynamics involved in setting up such a multi-nations agency.