In the Financial year (FY) 2020/2021, Kenya Space Agency (KSA) introduced a research grant on Nanosatellite Development to benefit public universities in Kenya. The goal of the research chair is to catalyze and promote research in Space Science and Technology in our local universities as well as build our human capacity in these disciplines. The winning teams from FIVE Universities; Kenyatta University, The University of Nairobi, Technical University of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Moi University, were awarded one million Kenya Shillings (Ksh 1Million).
The project was concluded on 30th September, 2021 with the Universities sending their final reports to KSA. The evaluation process has been on-going and in this regards, KSA convened a demo event on 14 October 2021 to enable the judging panel evaluate the functionality of the nanosatellites models developed by the FIVE beneficiary universities at the Konza Technopolis in Konza City.
Konza Technopolis is a technological city spanning across Makueni, Machakos and Kajiado counties that houses various advancements in the areas of Information and Technology (ICT), infrastructure and business governance systems with the aim of improving the livelihood of Kenya through offering solutions to problems that are facing Kenyans in sectors such as education, commercial development, engineering, life sciences and agriculture.
While addressing participants, judges and guests, the Chief Guest Acting Director General, KSA, Col. Hillary Kipkosgey, said that the event marked a key role towards the advancements in technology which would benefit the community especially in identifying solutions to day to day challenges in various sectors of economic development. He added that collaboration with Konza Technopolis was a big step towards research and development for future programs in the near future which would change the state of the economy of the nation. He urged the students to identify areas of interest which would act as a guide to the path of positive change and advancements in the livelihood of communities.
“Leverage in space data and space development through partnerships such as KSA’s partnership with Konza City and offering attachment, internship and in future, employment to the youth are some of the key steps that would bring benefits to our nation and improvement in the lives of people,” said Col. Hillary Kipkosgey adding that it is of importance for education curriculums to focus on skills and developments in the field of engineering, physical science and development studies.
The Chairperson of the Judges Panel, Dr. Kenneth Chelule, Chief Research Scientist at the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI), in his remarks said that the criteria of the judgement was based on three categories namely; the review of the report, Presentations by Project team and the functionality of the nanosatellites.
Out of the five universities, the top three universities would be expected to form a consortium to benefit from the award of three million Kenya Shillings research grant for the Development of a 3U Nanosatellite Model for the FY2021/2022. While giving his concluding remarks, the Ag. DG Col. Kipkosgey noted that the beneficiaries of the Research Chair FY2021/2022 would be announced the coming month.