Defence Principal Secretary Patrick Mariru has called upon the private sector to consider investing in space sector saying it’s a new frontier in technological advancement for the national socioeconomic development.
The PS said the Taifa-1 Satellite set to be launched next week at Vandenberg Base in California, USA is the first step by the government to exploit opportunities and fortunes associated with the utilization of space science, technologies and applications.
Speaking when he hosted members of the press at the Kenya Space Agency (KSA) Headquarters in Nairobi, the PS said this is a moment of pride for the country to launch the second satellite into the outer space.
Mr. Mariru said the satellite shall be essential in providing timely and regular imagery data for predictive analysis and data-driven decision support in the field of agriculture and food security, natural resources management, blue-economy, disaster management, environment monitoring among other phenomenon.
“Taifa-1 Sat 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,” said the PS.
The PS who shall be the Head of high-profile delegation to California said the satellite was purely designed and developed by a pool of Kenyan engineers whereas the manufacturing of parts, testing and qualification were done in collaboration with EnduroSat AD, a Bulgarian aerospace manufacturer.
Taifa-1 shall be launched aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Transporter 7 mission and shall be overhead the Kenyan space once in every four days for a period of five years that it is anticipated to be in orbit.
“This is one of the initiatives the Ministry of Defence has come up with which is very cost effective. In the coming days, we shall be launching much more projects and innovations,” he added.
The PS confirmed that the development of a ground receiver mission is at an advanced stage and shall be operational by July 2023 to enable sharing of space-derived data to inform critical decision making.
The PS was further taken through a brief tour of the KSA laboratory to familiarize himself with the various projects the Agency has participated in and the upcoming plans.
KSA is a State Corporation established in 2017 and domiciled in the Ministry of Defence mandated to promote, coordinate and regulate space related activities in the country.