Kenya launches its first operational satellite

April 10, 2023 Written by Osetemega Iribiri

On April 10, 2023, Kenya will join the list of African country that has launched operational space satellites. This milestone achievement for the country’s space industry will contribute to Kenya’s budding space economy. It also adds to Africa’s scientific innovation and development trajectory. The satellite is called Tafia-1 or One Nation in Swahili. Although One Nation will not be launched on African soil, but on board SpaceX Falcom from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, Kenyan engineers fully designed and developed it. Its testing and parts manufacturing were done with a Bulgarian aerospace manufacturer. 

According to the Kenyan Ministry of Defense and KSA, the launch aims to provide precise and timely earth observation satellite data to stakeholders in various fields of application, including agriculture and food security, natural resources management, and environmental monitoring, among other national programs. Its application to agriculture and food security is essential as Kenya suffers its worst droughts with five failed rainy seasons. The launch is poised to improve Kenya’s technical space technology development and applications capacity. Consequently, globally positioning Kenya as a contributor to satellite development, data analysis, and processing and development of applications in Africa.

Space in Africa, a Nigeria-based firm that tracks African space programs, reports that at least 13 African countries have launched about 50 satellites. Although none from African soil. Egypt was the first to launch into space in 1998. It also projects that the continent’s space market will exceed $ 10 billion by 2024 due to rising investment in the industry.

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