Kenya will launch its first satellite next week known as Taifa-1 from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California , aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The satellite will enable Kenya to obtain real-time data on various sectors including agriculture, mineral resources and forest cover from August.
“We are working on the ground receiver which should be completed by July, after which it will be relaying the data,” Defence Principal Secretary Patrick Mariru said.
The satellite, developed by Kenyan engineers, was built at an estimated cost of Sh50 million. A Bulgarian aerospace manufactured and tested parts of the satellite.
Three months after the launch will be the commissioning period a process that involves recalibrating and ensuring quality of data and images relayed. This is to ensure that the facility will be generating reliable information to the ground transmitter from August.
Kenya has been grappling with a severe drought after three years of failed rains bringing to the fore the importance of. Data from the satellite will, therefore, be crucial for food security as it will help in mapping out areas suitable for different crops for maximum production.
Kenya is among African countries that have borne the brunt of the adverse effects of climate change. This calls for real-time data in addressing the challenges such unreliable weather patterns.