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The first Kenyan satellite in orbit. Elon Musk’s SpaceX participated in its launch

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Kenya’s Taifa-1 observation satellite entered Earth orbit on Saturday as the first such object in the country’s history. It will collect environmental data and monitor the effects of natural disasters. The device was launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket owned by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

The Taifa-1 observation satellite went into orbit on Saturday. Designed by Kenyan engineers at SayariLabs, the device, built jointly with Bulgaria’s Endurosat AD, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.

Mission accomplished

The Falcon 9 rocket mission was postponed several times due to the weather. A convenient launch window opened on the night from Friday to Saturday around midnight. During the transmission, SpaceX confirmed the correct separation of the Taifa-1 satellite.

This is the first Kenyan observation satellite in orbit and one of the first steps to the development of the space industry in this country – in 2018, a tiny, experimental nanosatellite created by scientists from the University of Nairobi was launched from the International Space Station. The Kenya Space Agency (KSA) plans to construct further devices and create a national observation network.

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“We can monitor changes in forests, we can monitor changes in urbanization,” KSA’s Alloyce Were told Reuters.

Falcon 9 rocket launch with Taifa-1 satelliteReuters/Space X

Environment and natural disasters

According to KSA, a small satellite will collect environmental data, including those on natural disasters: floods, droughts and fires. The country’s authorities plan to use them to manage natural disasters and increase food security.

The construction of Taifa-1 took two years. According to the plan, the equipment will operate for five years, and in the next two decades it will disintegrate and burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Model of the Taifa-1 satelliteReuters

Main photo source: Reuters/Space X

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