Kenya to launch first operational 3U Earth Observation Satellite with SpaceX
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
By Hamdi Mohamud
The Kenya Space Agency (KSA) has announced the anticipated launch of Taifa-1 Satellite on April 11, 2023 by Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) aboard Falcon-9 Rocket from Vandenberg Base, California, USA.
Speaking Monday during a media briefing at a Nairobi hotel, Acting Director General of KSA Brigadier Hilary Kipkoskey, said the mission is designed to provide precise and timely earth observation satellite data to stakeholders in the diverse fields of application including agriculture and food security, natural resources management, land and physical planning, and general environmental monitoring, among others.
“Taifa-1 Sat, Kenya’s first operational 3U Earth Observation 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,” said Kipkoskey.
Also, the objective of the mission will be Kenya’s technical capacity in the whole value chain of space technology development and applications.
The Ag. Director said the Taifa-1 satellite mission 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 steppingstone 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,” he said.
The successful launch and operation of the satellite will not only demonstrate Kenya’s technical capacity but also provide valuable data and information for various applications.
The development of higher capable systems requires significant investment in research and development, leveraging on mutually beneficial international cooperation on space, as well as establishment of partnerships between government, academia, and industry.
KSA has also invited partners and stakeholders to join in marking this important milestone and celebrating Kenya’s moment of national pride and space heritage.
“We welcome collaborations that will promote the utilization of space technology and earth observation data, catalyse sharing of knowledge and resources, and help to promote innovation and collaboration in the development of space technology in Kenya,” he stated.