Why Launch Of Kenya’s First Operational Satellite Was Delayed

April 12, 2023
Some of the Kenyan engineers who developed the Taifa-1 satellite. From left: Pattern Odhiambo, the communication subsystem lead; Major Hope Deche, the ground receiver segment lead; and Captain Aloyce Were, the structural and mechanism lead. On the table is the model of Taifa-1 satellite.

The launch of Kenya’s first operational satellite, Taifa-1 meant to benefit Agriculture, Security and Entrepreneurs was delayed due to bad weather.

The satellite was to set to be launched Tuesday, April 11, aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 9.44 am Kenyan time.

Kenya Space Agency Engineer, Pattern Odhiambo said that due to bad weather, the launch had to be postponed as the risk of damaging the satellite are high.

“There is also the risk of the rocket falling back and causing death in case it lands in an area that is highly populated,” said Odhiambo.

The satellite is expected to aid in environmental monitoring, natural resource management as well as agriculture amongst other benefits.

“The local farmers will benefit from the satellite launch as data collected will be specific when planting season comes,” said Odhiambo.

Odhiambo noted that farmers will know where they specifically have to apply fertilizers and pesticides which will reduce wastage and improve efficiency.

He also added that inevitably crop production will improve.

The Ministry of Defence in conjunction with the Kenya Space Agency shared a joint statement informing the Kenyan public that the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) had announced a 24-hour delay for the launch of the Falcon 9 Transporter 7 mission earlier scheduled for Monday 10 April 2023 at 11.44 pm Pacific Time (Tuesday 11 April 2023 at 9.44 am Kenyan time).

The delay also affected the anticipated launch of the Taifa-one satellite alongside other satellites from other countries on the same Transporter 7-rideshare mission.

“The launch is now expected to take place on Tuesday 11 April 2023 at 11. 44 pm Pacific time (Wednesday 12 April 2023 at 9:44 am Kenyan time)” read the joint statement from the Ministry of Defence and Kenya Space Agency.

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