Kenya develops first satellite, and it is set to be launched from the International Space Station (ISS) in April or May. The University of Nairobi’s Kenyan engineers made the satellite in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Kenya has mainly built the satellite to observe farming trends and monitor the coastline. Besides, it will also allow testing technologies for the launch of a larger earth observation satellite in the future.
Kenyan engineers developed the cube satellite as part of a global program of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) named KiboCUBE. The program aims to offer educational or research institutions from developing countries the opportunities to deploy, from the ISS Kibo, cube.
The satellite is extremely small and tiny 10 by 10cm cubic-shaped and engineers call it “nanosatellite.” Its volume is one liter and development cost is Sh120 million, mostly funded by Japan.
UoN engineer Dr. Jackson Mwangi, who was involved in the satellite development, said that the 1KUNS-PF (1st Kenyan University Nano Satellite Precursor Flight) is Kenya’s first satellite that will be operated by a Kenyan university.
The Japanese agency’s ISS Programme manager, Koichi Wakata said, “At Jaxa, we are committed to making every effort to prepare for the successful deployment of the Republic of Kenya’s first satellite utilizing the unique capability of the Japanese Experiment Module Kibo on the ISS.”
Only Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, and Ghana have satellites in space. And now, Kenya’s satellite will be delivered to the ISS, according to Koichi Wakata.