Gov’t Set To Launch Taifa-1 Satellite

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The government is set to launch its first operational satellite on April 10, a historical achievement for the country’s space programme.

The satellite named Taifa-1, or one nation’s launch will be aided by Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) and will take place in Vandenberg Base, California.

According to a joint statement by the defense ministry and Kenya Space Agency, the observation satellite is “fully designed and developed” by Kenyan engineers.

Taifa will mainly be used to provide data on agriculture and food security, among other areas, the statement stated.

Testing and manufacturing of the parts were done in collaboration with a Bulgarian aerospace manufacturer. 

“The mission is an important milestone,” adding that it would contribute significantly to the country’s “budding space economy”.

Further, the statement indicated that testing and manufacturing of the parts were done in collaboration with a Bulgarian aerospace manufacturer.

Addressing the press on Tuesday, Defence Principal Secretary Patrick Mariru revealed that the development and launch of the Taifa-1 Satellite have cost Kenya Sh50 million.

“The cost has been modest. To develop this vessel it has cost Kenya Sh50 million,” the PS said.

Aljazeera news reports noted that Egypt was the first African country to send a satellite into space in 1998.

In 2018, Kenya launched its first experimental nanosatellite from the International Space Station.

As of 2022, at least 13 African countries had manufactured 48 satellites, according to Space in Africa, a Nigeria-based firm that tracks African space programmes. They include Ethiopia, Angola, South Africa, Sudan and others.

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