Kenya Set to Launch Its First Earth Observation Satellite On April 10

(file photo).

Nairobi — The Kenya Space Agency (KSA) is set to launch its first operational 3U Earth observation satellite Taifa-1 Satellite next week.

KSA said that the April 10 launch will be aided by Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) aboard Falcon-9 Rocket from Vandenberg Base, California, USA.

KSA and Defence Ministry said in a joint statement Monday that the satellite will provide timely and regular satellite data for decision support to agriculture and food security, natural resources management, disaster management, and environmental monitoring, among other applications.

The launch is a culmination of a KSA mission design and development of the satellite spanning twenty-four months.

KSA said Taifa-1 has been fully designed and developed by a team of Kenyan engineers.

Manufacturing of parts

The manufacturing of parts, testing and qualification were done in collaboration with EnduroSat AD, a Bulgarian aerospace manufacturer.

According to KSA, the Kenyan team underwent customized training on the space environment, orbital mechanics, space systems engineering, space operations and project management to be able to understand and design a mission that would survive the extreme space environment.

"The project entailed research and development of the different components of satellite mission design, full satellite development cycle, in-orbit control, and data reception and processing," KSA and Defence Ministry said.

The team spent three months to plan and determine the specific objectives, technical requirements, design specifications, cost analysis and documentation regimen for Taifa-1.

Data from the 3U earth observation satellite will complement what is currently available from open source within the sector.

It will provide decision-support to stakeholders relying on space derived data-driven solutions and contribute to realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Taifa-1 satellite mission according to KSA is an important milestone for Kenya's space programme and is expected to contribute significantly to spurring the growth of the satellite development, data analytics and processing, and applications development capabilities of Kenya's budding space economy.

Taifa-1 Sat is the first stepping stone to the development of 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, satellite data acquisition and processing, among others," KSA said.

A government of Kenya delegation led by the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Patrick Mariru, will travel to the Vandenberg Space Force Station in California, USA, to witness the launch of Taifa-1 Sat, weather and other conditions permitting.

KSA's technical team will also be monitoring the Mission at the Nairobi Headquarters.

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