REPUBLIC OF KENYA
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
(Issued under Article 35 (3) of the Constitution
Kenya’s deploys satellite into space
Tokyo, 11th May, 2018, MOE Press – Kenya has successfully deployed its first locally made Nano-satellite – the IKUNS-PF – into space.
The 1KUNS-PF (1st Kenya University Nano Satellite Precursor Flight) was deployed into orbit Friday by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
President Kenyatta said the deployment of the Nano satellite marked the beginning of an inspirational journey for Kenyans into the study of space science and related technologies and innovations.In a brief statement read on his behalf by Education Cabinet Secretary, Amb. Amina Mohamed, President Kenyatta expressed appreciation to the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, the University of Rome and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs who partnered with the University of Nairobi in developing and launching the satellite.
“Please join me in conveying warm greetings to Astronaut Norishige Kanai who has deployed the first Kenyan Nano satellite into orbit,” President Kenyatta said. Addressing a press conference at the Tsukuba Space Station, Japan, shortly after the deployment of the satellite, Amb Amina Mohamed said the launch has set the stage for the development of an outer space program for Kenya. “The launch of the Nano Satellite is a milestone in the development of space technology which will enable the country to harness space resources for the benefit of all Kenyans,’ said the CS.
The Cabinet Secretary said the Nano Satellite has been developed through a partnership between the University of Nairobi School of Engineering, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the KiboCube Team, University of Rome (Italy), and the Kenya Space Agency. The Education CS hailed the launch of the satellite as a historic milestone that will unlock immense opportunities for research into and delivery of services utilizing satellites including earth mapping, earth observations, weather forecasting as well as data collection for applications in agriculture, transport and food security. “Satellite technologies also enable us collect accurate data which will enable us to improve disaster management including floods ravaging the country, enhance effectiveness in land use monitoring, as well as environmental, livestock and wildlife management,” added Amb. Amina Mohamed.
Saying that the development of space technologies has been one of the leading catalysts for the growth of manufacturing in microelectronic and telecommunications, the Education CS said the Kenya government will place due emphasis on building local capacity and skills for Kenyans to fully participate in harnessing space resources. “Every year, Master of Science and Ph.D. students who show a great passion for space science will be recruited to join the satellite design, manufacturing, launch and mission operations teams,” said the CS. Added the CS: “We appreciate that the development of human capital and satellite capacity requires a long term commitment to a space science program. We therefore invite interested collaborators and partners from both the Public and Private sector to work with us on expanding this very important program that will yield enormous benefits for Kenya.”
The Cabinet Secretary said the Ministry of Education will continue to collaborate with the University of Rome as well as JAXA as the satellite launch partner and the Kyushu Institute of Technology of Japan as the technology partner for human resource development in satellite design, manufacture and testing. The launch of the satellite was the culmination of consistent efforts dating back to 1962 when an agreement between the University of Nairobi (Formally Royal Technical College) and University of Rome, La Sapienza, was signed for using Kenyan territorial waters at Malindi to build the San Marco satellite launch platform and base camp for ground stations.
The Cabinet Secretary was accompanied by Prof. Micheni Japhet Ntiba, Principal Secretary, State department of for University Education and Research, University of Nairobi Chancellor, Dr. Vijoo Rattansi, Vice Chancellor University of Nairobi Prof. Peter Mbithi and Prof. Jackson Mbuthia, the lead Investigator and Project Coordinator, University of Nairobi.