NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7 – On Friday, Kenya will be the first sub-Saharan African country to launch a nano-satellite into space.
Known as the First Kenyan University Nano Satellite—Precursor Flight (1KUNS-PF), the satellite is a product of University of Nairobi, in collaboration with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo Programme” and United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).
The 10-by-10-by-10 cube satellite will have several benefits for Kenya which include weather forecasting, earth mapping, environmental and animal observation and will also be used in assisting the multimedia sector in the country.
The satellite is also expected to assist with outer space observation and disaster management.
University of Nairobi Engineer Professor Mwangi Mbuthia says the satellite weighs about 1.2kgs and will be about 4,000kms from earth.
“Nano-satellites are now the new tools in space of doing research and carrying out commercial activities. It’s a new technology that will play a significant role in how things will be done in future especially on observation and satellite communication and so on,” Professor Mbuthia said.
The satellite has been assembled at a cost of approximately Sh100 million and has an estimated lifespan of between 12 to 18 months.
According to Mbuthia, the satellite will be rotating the earth ones every 90 minutes, and it is expected to pass over the Kenyan space every time it passes over the earth.
Mbuthia said the satellite is also the first step towards encouraging young scientists in the country to show them the kind of opportunities technology represents.
“This is the first step in the development of science in Kenya and the development of the capacity to utilize space resources.”
The nano-satellite will be deployed on Friday from Japan.