Kenyatta University (KU) has been awarded 1 million shillings as grant for the development of a nano-satellite prototype by the Kenya Space Agency.
The State Corporation charged with promoting, coordinating and regulating Space related activities in Kenya awarded the cheque to KU last month in an event which was presided over by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Amb. Dr. Monica Juma.
The funds will be utilized to develop a nano-satellite prototype for imagery, telemetry and drones for agricultural use and disaster management in the country.
The grant award followed the successful submission of a proposal by the institution’s students to Kenya Space Agency (KSA) under “Operational Space Weather and Nano-satellite Development”.
KU won the grant alongside five participating universities including, Moi University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology (JKUAT), Technical University of Kenya (TUK), and University of Nairobi (UoN).
The prototype christened ‘KUCUBE’ Nano-satellite is aimed at helping Kenya predict and mitigate agricultural disasters.
Agriculture being the leading sector in Kenya’s economy, ability to manage disasters affecting food security in line with sustainable development goal number three is paramount. Some of the disasters mapped out include locust migrations and losses associated with planning timelines. The project also aims at addressing challenges from inefficient traditional disaster curbing methods.
Through ‘KUCUBE’, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) drone will be guided to gather data useful for prediction and monitoring of agricultural disasters as well as mitigation of the same.
The total payload for the KUCUBE satellite will be 0.5 Kgs. The payload will consists of a low-resolution camera which is the primary payload. This will be responsible for taking images to be studied for Geographical/ Geomatic Information systems (GIS) purposes. The secondary payload is a bent pipe communications system. It will serve the purpose of receiving and transmitting data to (downlink) and from (uplink) the ground station.