The Kenya Space Agency (KSA) has revealed its plans to launch two small rockets from the Malindi Space Centre in partnership with the University of Rome in August 2021.
The mini-rockets are set to be launched using high altitude balloons, an improvement of the earlier huge rockets that were being launched in the 1980s and 1990s.
This plan was announced yesterday 25th February during the opening of a space sector high-level engagement form dubbed ‘The space sector we want in Kenya”. The event was attended by Defence Cabinet Secretary Monicah Juma, KSA chairman Major-General (Rtd) James Arwasa, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Director-General Gilbert Kibe and other stakeholders.
According to James Arwasa, the decision of using high-altitude balloons as launch pads for mini-rockets was made since it reduces the costs of sending rockets into space.
The process will also be easier since satellites and rockets smaller as a result of technological advancements over the year.
“We have students who are already working on building and launching the two at the Malindi Space Centre. We’re working with the University of Rome,” Mr Arwasa added.
However, the launch was meant to be earlier but was pushed to August after seven professors involved in the project from Rome contracted COVID-19.
There are lots of developing countries that have launched similar projects. This is mostly because satellites in space have various benefits including selling data collected to other countries. It also helps in access to quality data that can be used in making efficient decisions in the fight climate change, promotion of national security and enhancement of agriculture.
Mr Arwasa noted that Kenya Space Agency will make sure the information collected is centralised to the public to avoid duplication.