Kenya’s first earth observation Taifa-1 satellite was successfully launched on Saturday aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, following two other failed attempts due to bad weather.
The Falcon-9 rocket lifted off at 9:48 a.m. from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California with 51 satellites onboard, including Kenya’s Taifa-1 satellite. The Taifa-1 satellite was successfully deployed in orbit at 10:52 a.m.
According to the Kenya Space Agency, Taifa-1 has been programmed to orbit the Earth and pass over Kenya once every four days. Its cameras are designed to switch off automatically once it leaves Kenyan borders for recharging. This feature will enable Taifa-1 to provide data for disaster management, environmental monitoring, and national security. The satellite is fully owned by Kenya and will be operated by Kenyans. The data will also be received and processed in Kenya.
Under the Satellite Rideshare Program, SpaceX provides at least three launch opportunities to the Sun-Synchronous Orbit. These launch opportunities are affordable for satellite owners since the launch cost is shared amongst them.
According to Kenya Space Agency, Kenya’s facility to launch satellites, San Marco, situated on the south coast, is no longer operational since it was designed for a specific rocket that went out of production. “The launch platform is no longer operational since it was designed for a specific rocket that went out of production. “The technology used back then is now obsolete, and current launch systems are more advanced, efficient, and safer.”
In line with developing national space capability, Kenya Space Agency aspires to establish a launch facility in the near future and other support infrastructure for the space industry.