JAXA Deploys Kenya’s First Satellite Into Orbit from ISS
The first Kenya University Nano Satellite Precursor Flight (1KUNS-PF), Kenya’s first satellite, was successfully deployed from the Japan Space Agency (JAXA) KIBO deployment module aboard the International Space Station (ISS). 1KUNS-PF is a result of scientific and technological collaboration between the University of Nairobi, School of Engineering – the KiboCube Team, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), JAXA, University of Rome, and the Kenya Space Agency.
The data collected by the satellite will be key in helping the Kenyan government make vital decisions such as weather forecasting and disaster management. The satellite is one of the deliverables and an outcome of the TICAD 6 conference that took place in Nairobi in 2016. The University won a UNOOSA international competitive grant leading to the development of 1KUNS-PF with technical support from JAXA.
The CubeSat’s payload consists of two commercial cameras and experimental web audio upload and broadcast, capable of limited Earth observation and audio broadcast. On April 2, the completed CubeSat was transferred by NASA to the International Space Station (ISS) from where it was deployed into orbit.
The successful deployment heralds the next phase for Kenyan scientists and engineers to develop bigger high-resolution satellites capable of significant scientific and technological value for the country.