Kenya has finally given Africa a reason to celebrate after it successfully completed building its first satellite. The satellite is set to be launched in a few months time from the ISS (International Space Station.
Kenya collaborated with Japan to develop this satellite. This has ranked Kenya among the select club of African countries. The most amazing thing is that Kenya’s first satellite was developed by a group of students from the University of Nairobi in collaboration with the Sapienza University of Rome.
The satellite that has become Kenya’s pride was named 1KUNS-PF. Just as we had mentioned before, every satellite is built with a particular purpose and so is the case with 1KUNS-PF. This was built to monitor farming trends as well as offering information on coastal progression. This has brought a lot of improvement in soil management and farming practices of Kenyan farmers.
1KUNS-PF is in essence a CubeSat (10 by 10*10 cm cube). However, according to Kenyan officials, this is just the beginning. Their goal is to build bigger morning satellites and they believe they will do this in the near future. In modern life, the use of miniaturized satellites in commercial missions is on the increase. They have been tasked to perform more complicated tasks which in the past were only performed by larger satellites.
The Kenyan project of building their first satellite was undertaken in collaboration a Japanese Space Agency (JAXA). This Japanese agency also contributed much of the money needed to bring this project to completion. The cost of this whole project amounted to $1.2 million which is approximately 120 million Kenyan shillings.
This entire project was under the supervision of Nairobi University engineer known as Dr. Jackson Mwangi. Dr. Mwangi has confirmed that the satellite has already been handed over to JAXA. On the other hand, JAXA has assured them of their commitment in making the deployment of 1KUNS-PF a success.
JAXA says they understand how important 1KUNS-PF is being the first satellite in the Republic of Kenya and East Africa as a whole. The satellite is set to be flown to ISS in the month of March and from there, its launching into orbit on the ISS will be done through the robotic arm of Japanese.
The successful launch of this satellite will be a great achievement for Kenya since only five African countries have been able to launch satellites into space. These countries include: Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Algeria.