Kenya will on Friday reach for the stars as the country launches its first satellite into the orbit.
If successful, Kenya will join the elite club of handful African countries to make major breakthrough in space technology.
Kenya’s 10-by-10-by-10 cube nano-satellite will help the country in weather forecasting, environmental and animal observation and multimedia communication.
Additionally, it will also help in monitoring the coastline, disaster management, data collection for application in agriculture, transport and food security.
The nano-satellite is a collaborative effort between the University of Nairobi, Japanese Embassy (Jaxa) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa).
Dubbed Kenya University Nano Satellite-Precursor Flight (1KUNS-PF) it weighs about 1.2kgs and it will be lodged about 4,000 kilometres from earth, where it is expected to last in the orbit for about 18 months.
University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Peter Mbithi hailed the achievement saying it shows the strides the country is making space technology.
“The successful deployment of 1KUNS- PF heralds the next phase for UoN/Kenyan scientists and engineers to develop bigger high resolution satellites with serious scientific and technological value for the country,” he said.
The launch comes even as the country is in advanced stages of establishing a space centre, the equivalent of America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) agency.
The centre is expected to thrust Kenya to the elite club of a few countries in the world that own earth observation satellites with cost of the space centre projected to be around Sh10 billion.
It will also have Kenya transition from a passive user of space and space technologies to a contributor to the development of space technology.
According to scientists, the country is strategically located at a point where it will exhaust the space project for massive economic growth and creation of jobs.