The launch of Kenya’s first operational 3U Earth observation satellite, Taifa-1 has been pushed forward by a day.
This is after Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) announced that the unfavourable upper level wind conditions would affect the flight trajectory of Falcon 9 Transporter 7 mission.
Originally, the launch was slated to occur on Monday, April 10, 2023 at 11:44 p.m. Pacific Time (Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at 9:44 a.m. Kenyan time).
Taifa-1 satellite, along with other satellites from various nations, was expected to be launched in the same Transporter 7 Rideshare Mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The new launch is now set to take place on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, at 11:44 p.m. Pacific Time(Wednesday 12 April 2023 at 9.44am Kenyan time).
Kenya Space Agency and Defence Ministry said in a joint statement last week that the satellite will provide timely and regular satellite data for decision support to agriculture and food security, natural resources management, disaster management, and environmental monitoring, among other applications.
The launch is a culmination of a KSA mission design and development of the satellite spanning twenty-four months.
KSA said Taifa-1 has been fully designed and developed by a team of Kenyan engineers.
Manufacturing of parts
The manufacturing of parts, testing and qualification were done in collaboration with EnduroSat AD, a Bulgarian aerospace manufacturer.
According to KSA, the Kenyan team underwent customized training on the space environment, orbital mechanics, space systems engineering, space operations and project management to be able to understand and design a mission that would survive the extreme space environment.
“The project entailed research and development of the different components of satellite mission design, full satellite development cycle, in-orbit control, and data reception and processing,” KSA and Defence Ministry said.
The team spent three months to plan and determine the specific objectives, technical requirements, design specifications, cost analysis and documentation regimen for Taifa-1.
Data from the 3U earth observation satellite will complement what is currently available from open source within the sector.
It will provide decision-support to stakeholders relying on space derived data-driven solutions and contribute to realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Taifa-1 satellite mission according to KSA is an important milestone for Kenya’s space programme and is expected to contribute significantly to spurring the growth of the satellite development, data analytics and processing, and applications development capabilities of Kenya’s budding space economy.
Taifa-1 Sat is the first stepping stone to the development of what is planned to be a constellation of small earth observation satellites for Kenya.
” It is also a capacity-building effort for Kenya’s engineers in space systems engineering, space operations, ground receiver station operations, mission control, satellite data acquisition and processing, among others,” KSA said.
A government of Kenya delegation led by the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Patrick Mariru, are in the US to witness the launch of Taifa-1 Sat.
KSA’s technical team will also be monitoring the Mission at the Nairobi Headquarters.