Kenya’s first operational 3U Earth observation satellite, Taifa-1 satellite, was built at a cost of Ksh.50 million Defence Principal Secretary (PS) Patrick Mariru has said.
The satellite is set to be launched into space by the Kenya Space Agency (KSA) with the help of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) on April 11, 2023.
The launch is set to take place in Vandenberg Base, California, USA aboard Falcon-9 Rocket.
During a press briefing on Tuesday, PS Mariru stated that the build was cost-effective since the assembly and development of the outfit was done by KSA engineers.
“It’s only the parts that we sourced from external partners but in terms of fixing it was done by our engineers,” said PS Mariru.
“The cost has been modest. To develop this vessel it has cost Kenya Sh50 million,” the PS said.
The manufacturing of the parts and their testing was done in collaboration with Endurosat AD, a Bulgarian aerospace manufacturer.
With the huge foreseen advantage the satellite will hand to Kenya, PS Mariru noted that the nation will be able to independently access data for decision support to combating climate change and improving agriculture and food security.
“We now have our own vessel to collect data. We do not need to go to a third party. Now we have our sovereign-owned instruments to be able to make decisions,” he added.
The mission is designed to provide precise and timely earth observation satellite data to stakeholders in the diverse fields of application including agriculture and food security.
Another objective of the mission will be to “develop Kenya’s technical capacity on the whole value chain of space technology development and applications.”
A delegation from Kenya will travel to the USA for the launch led by PS Mariru to witness the launch, “weather and other conditions permitting.”