Space programme of Kenya

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The space programme of Kenya has been largely shaped by that country's position on the equator and has basis of existed foreign infrastructure and experience. The development of the programme started in May 2012.


Kenya's first satellite launched in 1970. The satellite, named Uhuru, was equipped to study celestial X-ray astronomy. [1] Kenya was involved in the launching of the San Marco Malindi satellite. Discussions for a space center began in 1983, but stalled.[2]

Space Center Development[edit]

Estimated costs for the space center are Sh10 billion. The main goal of the space agency is to develop Earth observation satellites that can be used to monitor things from the weather to ongoing violence. The space center project is being driven by Dr. John Kumani, the lead scientist at the ministry of defense.[2]


As one of only a handful of equatorial states, and because it is bordered to the East by the Indian Ocean, Kenya is ideally sited for a spaceport to efficiently launch satellites into geostationary and other orbits.[2]

The closest regional facility, and the only one ever active in East Africa, is the Italian-owned Broglio Space Centre (more known as San Marco) near the Kenya's coast. In 1962 the agreements between Italy and Kenya and between University of Rome La Sapienza and Royal Technical College (now University of Nairobi) were signed and prolonged later for using of Kenyan territorial waters and building of base camp for two main sea platforms of spaceport on Kenyan territory near Ngomeni and Ungwana Bay. Later for servicing of San Marco spaceport among other needs, a tracking station in the nearest Kenyan city of Malindi was created (and still operates) by Italy and ESA.[citation needed]

After end of operation of San Marco/Broglio space centre by Italians, The Kenyan government attempted to found a mostly commercial national space programme based on retake of this spaceport and use of Malindi station but the idea caused economic and diplomatic troubles between Kenya and Italy and the idea was discarded.


In building a launchpad for modern rockets to be able to launch satellites into geostationary orbit, Kenya intends to involve other partners such as the Ukraine that already produce launch vehicles for sea-platform Sea Launch spaceports.[citation needed] The Kenyan government offered[when?] the Ukraine the right to develop the spaceport for launch of its own rockets and the facilities for assembly of satellites.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Aarhus, Paige (January 5, 2012). "East Africa's Space Program". Vice. Retrieved October 27, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Gisesa, Nyambega (June 27, 2015). "Kenya to Launch Space Centre". Retrieved October 27, 2016. 

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