15 avril 2024

SpaceX launches Kenya's first operational satellite into orbit

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Kenya's first operational satellite was put into orbit on Saturday by a SpaceX rocket that lifted off from California, according to images from the US space company. Early Saturday, a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket lifted off at 06:08 GMT from the US base of Vandenberg in California, before deploying several dozen satellites, including the Kenyan Taifa-1 (which means "Nation-1" in Swahili).

Designed and developed by a team of Kenyan researchers, this satellite will provide data in various fields such as agriculture and environmental monitoring in Kenya, which will be invaluable for the future of this East African country which is currently experiencing a historic drought.

In a joint statement last week, the Kenyan Ministry of Defence and the Kenya Space Agency (KSA) praised the project as a "major milestone" that should give a boost to "Kenya's nascent space economy". With images from the satellite's multispectral camera, "we will be able to have high quality earth observation data, which will help us predict crop yields," he said.

Kenya sent its first nano-satellite into space in 2018. But it was Egypt that paved the way for space conquest on the continent by becoming the first African country to send a satellite into space in 1998. Since then, more than 50 African satellites have been sent into space. The first operational Kenyan satellite was put into orbit on Saturday 15 April by a SpaceX rocket that took off from California (USA), according to images from the American space company.