The first “Made in Kenya” satellite will be launched before the end of March by the International Space Station, it was reported earlier this week. Kenya has the earliest opportunity to align with the small group of African countries with satellites in space.
Indeed, while the launch of the satellite manufactured by engineers from the University of Nairobi, in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa), was planned for the month of April or May, the program could change. Kenyan authorities are now planning to do so before this deadline.
Made in Kenya
The Kenyan satellite is a new form known as the nano-satellite. Extremely small and in the shape of a cube of 10 by 10 centimeters, this satellite has the volume of a liter only. However, its development cost 120 million shillings (about $ 1 million) and the work was financed by Japan.
The name of 1Kun-PF (the first flight of precursors of Nano satellites from the University of Kenya), this satellite will have the mission to “protect the borders of the country and supervise agricultural activities.” It has the same operational capabilities as conventional satellites and it would be easier to put in orbit, according to Kenyan officials.
Koichi Wakata, director of the Jaxa ISS program, said the small satellite will be delivered to the ISS this month and will then be launched into space from Jaxa’s robotic arm on the ISS, known as Kibo, before end of March.
“In Jaxa, we are committed to making every effort to prepare for the successful deployment of the first satellite of the Republic of Kenya using the unique capabilities of the Japanese” Kibo “Experiment Module on the ISS,” said Wakata. in a statement.
The ISS is a large spacecraft built by several countries to orbit continuously around the Earth. It is also the place where astronauts live and work on several experiences.
As a reminder, the satellite was developed through a program known as SKiboCUBE, launched in September 2015 by the United Nations Office for Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Jaxa. The program offers educational and research institutions in developing countries the opportunity to deploy cubic satellites from the ISS.
With this innovation, Kenya will become the seventh African country with satellites in space. Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria and Morocco already have some.