Kenya's space agency to fund local universities for Nanosatellite Development And Space Weather Study

The Kenyan Space Agency (KSA) has awarded funding worth a total of Kshs 10 million to eight Kenyan universities to host Research Chairs Programme focused on the development of nanosatellites and operational space weather network. The Agency presented the award to the selected universities on on 21st October 2020, during the official launch of its Strategic Plan 2020-2025.

KSA had initially issued an open call to public universities to submit proposals to host a research node focused on nanosatellite development and operational space weather study and received submissions from nine local universities.

A panel of judges reviewed the submissions and following their recommendation, the University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Technical University of Kenya, Moi University and Kenyatta University were each awarded Kshs 1,000,000 (USD 9,200) for the Nanosatellite Development project. The project aims to build capacity of local university to develop space systems and enhance their understanding of space science, technology and applications.

Additionally, the consortium of Taita Taveta University, University of Eldoret and the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology received Kshs 5,000,000 (USD 46,000) to develop the operational space weather, which aims at developing a space weather monitoring network that will provide real-time monitoring of space weather events to mitigate against adverse conditions in the space environment. Events that affect aviation safety, global navigation satellite systems, electric power transmission grid, pipelines, radio communications and surveying.

According to the agency, the programme aims to contribute towards Kenya’s socio-economic development by promoting capacity building and linkages between academia and industry. Kenya’s nascent space sector will benefit from both the short and long-term gains of the Space Chair Research Programme in terms of academic output in the STEM fields, talent, local knowledge, R&D outputs and potential spin-off of innovative New-space start-ups.

Photo courtesy / Google

Article by Jedidah Mwangi