The first operational Kenyan satellite was put into orbit last Saturday by a rocket of the company SpaceX which took off from California (United States), according to images of the American space company.
The launch, initially scheduled for last Monday evening had been postponed several times this week due to bad weather conditions in the United States.
On Saturday, a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket took off at 06:48 GMT from the U.S. base of Vandenberg (California), before deploying an hour later several dozen satellites, including the Kenyan Taifa-1 (“Nation-1” in Swahili).
Designed and developed by a team of Kenyan researchers, the satellite will provide data in the areas of agriculture and environmental monitoring in Kenya, valuable for the future of this East African country currently experiencing a historic drought.
In a joint statement last week, the Kenyan Ministry of Defense and the Kenyan Space Agency (KSA) touted “a major milestone” that should give a boost to “Kenya’s nascent space economy.”
“If we benefit directly from space exploration, we will be able to improve our food security,” explained Pattern Odhiambo, an engineer at KSA, who participated in the project.
With the images of the multispectral camera of the satellite, “we will be able to have high quality data of earth observation, it will help us to predict the yield of crops”, he detailed.
Kenya had sent its first nano-satellite into space in 2018.
As of 2022, more than 50 African satellites have been sent into space, according to Space in Africa, a Nigerian company that tracks African space programs.
Egypt was the first country on the African continent to send a satellite into space in 1998.