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Universities recognized for winning space research call

Universities that developed winning proposals to host the Nanosatellite Development/Operational Space Weather Chair were feted Wednesday in a ceremony graced by Ministry of Defense Cabinet Secretary Amb. Dr. Monica Juma.
University of Eldoret was awarded Sh5 million by the Kenya Space Agency (KSA) to host its Nanosatellite Development/Operational Space Weather Chair, and will lead a consortium of other institutions that also won this award.
Eight Universities were recognized and awarded for participating in the space research advertised in the local dailies by KSA in August, at an event held in Nairobi.
They include Technical University of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Taita Taveta University, University of Nairobi, University of Eldoret, Kenyatta University, Dedan Kimathi University of technology and Moi University.
The Research’s main aim is to catalyze and promote research in Space Science, Technology and related applications.
The implementation framework of the project will be targeted towards monitoring and mitigating the space weather on the following areas: energy infrastructure, pipelines and power lines, navigation and positioning, GNSS, Communications infrastructure, HF radio systems and SW broadcasting, aviation, space exploration, Satellite operations, Magnetic surveys, gyroscopes Geophysical exploration and Surveillance radars.
The CS noted that Kenya’s history of space activities dates back to the 1960s with the establishment of a satellite launching and tracking base at Malindi in collaboration with Italy.

Defence CS Amb. (Dr.) Monica Juma (centre) with Maj. Gen. Thomas Chepkuto, Ag. Director-General, Kenya Space Agency (left) and Maj. Gen. (Rtd) James Aruasa, Chairperson, Kenya Space Agency Management Board hold and display copies of the KSA 2020-2025 Strategic Plan at Serena Hotel in Nairobi, during its official launch.

Juma observed that Kenya will be the fifth among the 55 countries in Africa to start a space programme which is mainly focused on supporting the youth to venture into space related courses.
She said providing data through air space can help people in decision making in critical areas such as weather prediction and notification services as well as saving countless lives through early warnings and enhanced responses.
She however acknowledged that Kenya was yet to fully exploit its potential in the pursuit of space technology.
“It is upon us to identify personnel and available assets we can leverage on as we continue in this journey,” she stated.
The project will be coordinated by a team of experts led by Dr. Godfrey Ouma Makokha, Dr. Bernard Alunda, Nashon Adera, Dr. Stella Munyole and Eric Kinyua from Taita Taveta University, Dr. Arthur Sichangi from Dedan Kimathi University of Technology and Prof. Joel Tonui, Dr. Cosmas Ronno and Jason Kanule from (University of Eldoret).
The Kenya Space Agency was established by President Uhuru Kenyatta through a March 2017 gazette notice.


By Shirlene Omondi/Gworo Alice

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