A satellite named Taifa – 1 developed by Kenyans is set to be launched next week. The machine that will offer real-time data on agriculture, forest cover and mineral resources will go live in California on Monday, April 10. It will be aboard Elon Musk’s Space X Falcon 9 rocket.
The satellite dubbed Taifa-1 will help Kenyans make informed policies by mapping out climatic conditions, mineral wealth and data on food security. “We are working on the ground receiver which should be completed by July, after which it will be relaying the data,” Defence Principal Secretary Patrick Mariru stated.
The satellite cost Kenyan engineers KSh 50 million according to Business Daily. A statement by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) indicated the satellite shall be overhead Kenyan space once every four days for a period of five years that it is anticipated to be in orbit. Taifa-1 is Kenya’s operational 3U Earth Observation Satellite. It is, the second satellite to be launched into orbit after the 1U Nanosatellite developed by the University of Nairobi in conjunction with the Italian Space Agency and launched with the assistance of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency in May 2018,” Mariru said.
In 2018, Kenya embarked on space exploration with its first-ever homemade KSh 100 million satellite dubbed Nano. The satellite was developed by the University of Nairobi (UoN) in collaboration with Spienza University in Italy and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency(JAXA).
Former UoN UoN vice-chancellor Peter Mbithi said the 10 cm by 10 cm cube satellite will be used in gathering data on the weather forecast, climate change, coastline monitoring, wildlife and earth mapping and even transport and logistics.
“Successful deployment of Nano Satellite will set stage for the next phase for Kenyan scientists and engineers to develop bigger higher resolution satellites with more serious scientific and technological value,” Mbithi said.