Students in Kenya Are Helping Launch the Country’s First Satellite Into Space
It will be used to help improve farming methods and monitor the country’s coastline.
Kenya is expected to become the sixth African country to launch a satellite into space — and it will do so with local expertise.
Students and researchers at the University of Nairobi developed the nano-satellite, which is expected to launch this Friday, according to Daily Nation, a local Kenyan news site. It will be used to track farming trends and monitor the country’s coastline, ZME Science reported in January.
“Nano satellites are now the new tools in space of doing research and carrying out commercial activities,” University of Nairobi professor Mwangi Mbuthia said. “It’s a new technology that will play a significant role of how things will be done in the future.”
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Thus far, only five African nations — South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria, and Egypt — have launched satellites into space. On Friday, Kenya will become the sixth, when it deploys the nano-satellite from its current location at the International Space Station (ISS).
“This is a milestone in Kenya’s exploration into space,” Kenya’s cabinet secretary for foreign affairs said in a statement.
The project was developed with funding assistance from the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA), according to reports.
Satellite technology can play an important role in the practice of “precision farming,” which advocates say increases crop yields while also protecting the environment.
Kenya, it seems, is on the cutting edge of satellite technology.
In March of this year, researchers at Kenya’s Strathmore University were also involved in the launch of the African Regional Data Cube, a tool using remote mapping technologies to improve food security in Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Tanzania, according to a press release.
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