SMALL BOX WILL COLLECT AGRICULTURAL AND ENVIRONMENT DATA
Kenya has ventured into space with the launch of its first satellite lifting off from the International Space Station facilities in Japan on Friday.
The small cube-space probe was developed in joint cooperation between the University of Nairobi, Sapienza University in Italy, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, in a project known as boCUBE which began in September 2015. The project cost Sh100 million.
The low-orbiting small satellite, referred to as a nanosatellite, will gather information that hopefully will be used to improve weather forecasting, food security mapping, wildlife monitoring and disaster management. It is expected to have a lifespan of 18 months before eventually crashing back to Earth.
KENYATTA: “A BIG INSPIRATION JOURNEY FOR KENYANS”
The launch, watched by thousands of Kenyans live on television, was lauded by President Uhuru Kenyatta in a speech read out by Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed who travelled to Japan to witness the event.
“I am encouraged by this venture by scientists from Kenya”, President Kenyatta said, “It is a big inspiration journey for Kenyans into study of space science technology for development of our economy”.
CS Mohamed said there is more to come: “We will now start building two or three other satellites that will be deployed across the country”.
University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor Isaac Mbeche, watching the launch with students and lecturers, expressed the hope that development partners to give Sh500 million so that five more satellites can be built.
Acting Japanese Ambassador Yoshihiro Katayama, “Japan will continue to support Kenya in whichever way”.