In Brief

Elon Musk’s link in Kenya’s satellite launch

Rockets made by SpaceX, the exploration company owned by US-based billionaire Elon Musk will be used to propel Kenya’s first satellite, TAIFA 1, to space on Wednesday, April 12, at 9.44am East African Time.

Aboard Falcon 9 rocket, TAIFA 1, which is scheduled to be flying over Kenya every four days, brings the total number of African countries with satellites to 14 and a total of 52 African satellites in orbit. Zimbabwe and Uganda launched their satellites in November last year. Egypt was the first African country to send a satellite into space in 1998.

TAIFA 1, which cost Kes50 million to manufacture in Bulgaria, has high resolution optical cameras capable of high resolution and high quality images which will be valuable data. The data will help in the  mapping of natural resources, improving the country’s agriculture sector, food security and real time monitoring of Space weather events.

The satellite which was “fully designed and developed by Kenyan engineers,” is expected to take about three months before it starts relaying information to its ground station which is set to be running by July 2023 in Kasarani, Nairobi.

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