Nine Kenyan engineers have developed Kenya’s first earth observation satellite that is set to be launched on Monday, April 10.
The satellite that was designed and developed at a tune of Ksh 50 million will be among 50 satellites launched by African countries.
It took the engineers two years to developthe satellite.
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Here is the story as told by WoK.
Taifa-1, a 3U Earth Observation satellite will be launched at the Vandenberg Space Force Station in California, USA.
It will be launched by SpaceX aboard a Falcon 9 rocket and it will orbit the earth parallel to the sun.
The satellite was designed by among others, Rose Wanjiku, who says she was always fascinated by machines in the air.
“At first I wanted to create the most safest aircraft, that’s why I went into aviation,” she said.
The airspace engineer was later recruited among nine engineers tasked with designing and developing Kenya’s first 3U nano satellite.
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Wanjiki was the project lead.
“The first thing the team had to go through is to be able to understand the space environment; what temperatures are we going to experience for the satellites and what occurrences can happen,” she said.
Paterne Odhiambo, an electrical and electronics engineer joined the team a year after the project kicked off.
In an interview with Citizen TV, Jomo Kenyatta University graduate attributed his choice of career to his dad.
“My dad was a Physics and Chemistry teacher and he used to operate a lot on out radios. I fell in love early with capacitors and resistors,” he said.
Odhiambo was tasked with designing the radio link, making sure that the satellite communicates effectively.
Captain Alloyce Were is also part of the team working on Taifa-1 having studied at the Technical University of Kenya (TUK) before joining Matter Space in Nigeria.
He is a structural and mechanical engineer.
“When we talk of 3U, we are talking of three units of cubes in satellite technology
“The satellite will be flying in a horizontal position with deployable solar panels so that they have maximum elimination of the solar energy from the sun,” he explained.
The satellite will only operate for five years.
“For the satellite to stay in orbit, it has to go at a certain speed. Over time, the batteries are not as powerful because of use and reuse and the satellite starts to slow down
“As soon as it slows down, it starts to loose the altitude of the orbit and so because as it decays it enters into the atmosphere of earth, there’s a lot of friction with the air particles that causes it to burn up,” Wanjiki explained.
According to Telecom Review, the mission of the spacecraft will be to provide data in the areas of agriculture, food security and disaster management.
The satellite will be used to predict drought-related disasters and thus speeding up the response of emergency programs.
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