Potential Challenges to Establishing a Space Sector in Kenya

cropped-cropped-header-2.jpgAs Expected, Kenya will encounter formidable challenges in her quest to establish a successful and vibrant domestic space sector. These impediments are not necessarily unique to Kenya, but, attributed to the fact that Kenya is still an industrially developing nation chiefly propped by an agri-based economy. Nonetheless, some of these hurdles will unnervingly be peculiar to the Kenyan context. We shall hence begin to scrutinize some of these challenges and suggest respective probable remedial or mitigation measures.

  • Limited or complete lack of awareness

An obfuscating cloud of unfamiliarity with the scope and capabilities of space technology engulfs the entire strata of the Kenyan society. Neither the common “mwanainchi” on the streets nor the technocratic custodians of national development policy seem to possess a fundamental awareness on the relevance of space-based technology to the national development agenda. Space technology is ubiquitously treated as an enigmatic, esoteric and prohibitively untenable domain; ostensibly disconnected from the apparent grass-root level developmental objectives. Consequently, space technology is hardly explored nor prioritized as a crucial component of the solution to problems confronting the national developmental agenda. Diminished awareness can however be reversed by sustained efforts to raise familiarity on the unique capabilities of space technology by different players in the public and private sectors (e.g. this website). Moreover, the discernible tremendous positive impacts of space technology on the development initiatives of nations that Kenya wishes to emulate also serve to promote awareness of space technology in Kenya.

  • Unfavorable societal context

Space technology cannot flourish in a society characterized by poor leadership, retrogressive national policies or a lack of political will. A successful domestic space sector requires 3 key ingredients highlighted below in descending influence. i)  Political will,   ii)  Economic Backing,   iii)  Technological capability.  As evident in other societies preceding Kenya in implementing a concerted national space technology initiative, political support to adopt space technology will not be automatically forthcoming from all concerned political players in the country. Such a scenario can augment or spawn retrogressive policies culminating in a compromised fiscal support for space technology implementation. Inaugurating a space sector in Kenya will hence be always stalked by the risk of poor leadership—a reality that has claimed numerous previous government initiatives such as the defunct “Nyayo Pioneer” domestic automobile project. 

To mitigate this risk, competent technocratic leaders should be hired through a competitive transparent process. The importance of space technology to national development needs to be thoroughly explained and understood by all stakeholders to guarantee across the board political and policy backing.

  • Fiscal scarcity

Space technology requires huge financial investments, has long gestation periods and is substantially exposed to risk of failure. Kenya is an industrially developing country characterized by very meager financial resources and a vast array of developmental needs. Space technology implementation will have to compete with other deserving needs for these extremely limited funds. As a result, prudent and disciplined national budgeting complimented by other thoughtful progressive financing mechanisms avail a way forward for Kenya to fund space technology development. The unmatched returns of investing in space technology should embolden the nation to courageously embrace this path.

  • Lack of prerequisite technical expertise

At present, Kenya substantially lacks the necessary knowledge and expertise required to establish and efficiently run a prosperous domestic space sector. It is hence a critical for Kenya to institute measures that will nurture a competent domestic space technology capacity. This is by no means a trivial undertaking. It is a relatively painstakingly slow process that requires careful planning and tremendous investment. It is the objective of this website to contribute towards addressing this challenge.

  • Absence of scalable infrastructure and capacity

As a country buttressed by an agri-based economy, Kenya lacks an established domestic hi-tech sector with dual use or that can be easily scaled or converted to space technology application.  For instance, if Kenya possessed the technological capability to build military self-propelled missiles of appreciable range; it would be feasible to upgrade such a capability to launch vehicle application. Communication satellites transponder technology can be scaled from a terrestrial telecommunication systems manufacturing know-how if it existed in the country and so on. An existing dual use or closely related technological infrastructure would hence bootstrap the proposed space sector onto the desired trajectory. However, the absence of such a technological platform compounds the challenges Kenya has to face because the space sector infrastructure will have to be established from scratch. Technology transfer from willing partners seems to be the most pragmatic approach to overcome this challenge.

  • Paucity of willing technology transfer partners:

Most countries with established space programs are likely to be reluctant to partner with Kenya and liberally transfer space technology. Because of the copious investments involved, national security fears and apprehensions about encouraging competition against its own space industry; no country is envisioned to be philanthropic with space technology. Consequently, Kenya may find itself in a situation with limited willing space technology transfer partners. Fostering multiple stronger bilateral ties and acquiring strategic diplomatic leverage may help Kenya mitigate this issue.

  •  Restrictions on transferable technology from willing partners

Although Kenya may secure cooperative partners willing to transfer space technology, this arrangement is likely to be subjected to a variety of restrictions. Space technology is dual use by nature, consequently many aspects of it, e.g. tangible parts, subsystems, software and technical processes are subjected to heavy export control by the countries of origin. These restrictions could be in the form of denial of certain parts, systems or know-how. Such restrictions may hamper the process of building space technology capability in Kenya. However, this can be overcome to some extend by cooperating with as multiple partners and cultivating ingenious innovation with the skills already transferred.

  •  Undue preconditions before technology transfer

Though some countries may be willing to share space technology with Kenya, they may impose  preconditions such as requiring Kenya to buy their space technology systems first before they initiate cooperation or for continued technology transfer. Such undue conditions will slow or hinder Kenya’s pace of mastering space technology expertise. A means of overcoming this barrier is to engage multiple collaborating partners and being smartly innovative with the skills already acquired provides a means to overcome this setback.

  •  Unfair competition

As Kenya’s industrial capacity to manufacture hi-tech space systems matures to export standards, it is likely to face unfair competition from well-established countries that unfairly protect their industries. This skewed competition maybe in the form of protected markets or subsidized competitors. Participation in regional and preferential trading blocs would hand Kenya a way to weather this competition.

19 thoughts on “Potential Challenges to Establishing a Space Sector in Kenya

  1. Comments by JG Bowman (Linkedin)

    You might be surprised at the number of space companies that would come to Africa seeking a space flag of convenience. However, post-9/11, they would look at election riots and the threat of terrorism and ask themselves: “Do we want to risk multi-billion dollars assets in Kenya?”

    The answer would be a resounding no.

    It would be safer to go to Gabon or to Uganda where one can find investors in space. [Congo-Zaire scares off investors with its civil wars and bad leaders. Congo-Brazzaville has a regime of fraud which also scares off investors.] So why would any sane business person come to this part of Africa? The attraction of these counties of course is that they are located on the equator and that means launching economically to a good orbit. However, one can pick from many nations on the equator where there is no threat that your project will be nationalised or blown up by rebels or criminals or the aforesaid worldwide threat that the USA uses (perhaps understandably) to justify lobbing cruise missiles at camps. And I have not even mentioned yet that military regimes will (like in the USA) try to inject themselves into civilian space projects thus providing superpowers (not just the USA) with the motive to destabilise a nation. The USA (as well as other powers) has always fought any effort by the African continent to create national space agencies in the public sector — much less the entry of space companies in the private sector. The popularity of socialism and communism in Africa has not helped. The USA views all rockets as intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at Washington. As an American, I have to wonder if politicians and bureaucrats in the USA and in Africa are sane. I don’t think so. Since the other continents (Europe, Asia, Oceania, South America and North America all have national space agencies) and Africa at least until recently has lacked them, I have to wonder if there is not a tinge of racism in US covert policy. A US president of African descent has not really changed matters much.

    I think it is important to keep civilian space projects strictly civilian to allay fears of investors that this list of risks might occur. Having listed challenges to establishing a space sector in Kenya, let us look on the positive side.

    1. The Italian Space Agency left behind San Marco platform and Broglio Space Centre in Malindi
    2. While the sociopathically paranoid and intrusive US government is going around the world blowing stuff up, China is investing in Africa. I state the matter this way both to point out a source of investment (China and Brazil cooperate in space ventures) and to prod the US government to stop being so stupid and evil.
    3. Rwanda’s goal of building an IT sector and Kenya’s goal of building a space sector could help each other. Moreover, Rwands’s rule of law and efforts to clear red tape have given it a business-friendly climate and could make it an inspiration to space entrepreneurs in Kenya.
    4. Kenya has a strong tourism industry that could be tapped to create a space tourism industry.
    5. Kenya has a manufacturing industry.
    6. Kenya’s Vision 2030 could help the space sector in Kenya.
    7. Space Kenya dot org and you yourself could be a big part of success in the effort to establish a space sector in Kenya.
    8. Cooperation with other African nations that are also interested in the space sector. South Africa and Nigeria for example.
    9. The Russians have a long history of working with any nation that approaches them. Kenya could get a few astronauts up via Russia decades sooner than going through NASA.
    10. Kenya does not lack business men and business women. Approach them and ask them to set up space banks, space venture capital funds, space mutual funds and space accelerators/incubators. This alone would vault Kenya right past the USA which (despite my comments) is still the epicentre of space entrepreneurship.

    1. Hello JG Bowman,
      It is a delight to read your feedback and comments.
      You absolutely raise very important and pertinent issues some of which I have addressed in my previous posts on this site.
      To begin with, I completely agree with your list of 10 positives in Kenya’s favor. I might elucidate further on one or two though.
      As I mentioned in my earlier post on “How should Kenya embrace space-based technology? — I & II ‘ (https://spacekenya.org/2012/09/09/how-should-kenya-embrace-space-based-technology-ii/), there are numerous inherent risks associated if the integration of space technology for sustainable national development is spearheaded by private enterprise. As much as they form an essential component of the space sector, private enterprise cannot be relied upon as the ‘tip of the spear’ to establish a space sector for sustainable national development in Kenya. I have expounded on the reasons why this is the case in my post under the aforementioned link.
      Allow me to correct the ubiquitous, stereotypical and unfair misconception about Kenya (and African nations in general) perpetuated by the Western media and palpable in your post.
      The post election violence was a dark and poignant chapter for Kenya. Now, such outbreak episodes of carnage are not only unique and exclusive to Kenya (and African countries). We have recently witnessed astonishing orgies of violence and infernos engulfing entire city blocks in London, Paris, Los Angeles etc to name a few. We have witnessed the mass murders by nut jobs in Norway, 9/11 massacre in NY and very sadly an unfathomable almost monthly occurrence of mass shootings in the US (Sandy hook, Aurora, Fort Hood, Tucson etc.)
      However, these non-African countries don’t seem to be stigmatized and permanently associated with these negativities by their western media. If anything, a very short term memory laced with a sympathetic and deflective spin is normally the modus operandi by these media houses. On the contrary, woe unto you if you are an African country that has suffered a dark episode no matter how fleeting it may be. That blotch will become your definition in the talking points of the biased western media and soon majority of their audience will naturally adopt this misconception and perpetuate it.
      In context, Kenya has made remarkable notable strides since 2008.
      • A new constitution (probably one of the most progressive in the world!) was promulgated in 2010
      • A more business friendlier investment environment has been cultivated (ranked higher than even Rwanda’s that you mentioned)
      • A subsequent non-violent power transition despite a highly contested election that was decided by the Supreme Court
      • Global leader and pace-setter in mobile money technology
      • Recipient of billions of Shillings in FDI injection post 2008 by savvy investors etc
      The list on significant notable achievements that the western media never bothers to mention but are crucial from an investment and progressive perspective is endless.
      Consequently, I humbly differ with you when you state… “: “Do we want to risk multi-billion dollars assets in Kenya?” The answer would be a resounding no….”
      Right now the answer has been a resounding “Yes”. That is why leading technology firms (LG, GE, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Nokia, Embraer, etc) have established their regional headquarters there. Moreover tech giants like IBM have gone ahead to locate a research and innovation lab in the country.

      As far technology partners are concerned, I concur China and Russia might be a better fit for Kenya than EU and USA. I opined a similar notion in my post (https://spacekenya.org/2012/08/31/in-the-media-next-topic/)
      The military “interference” into civil space seems like a necessary evil in the business since the uniformed fellows seem to have deeper pockets everywhere.

  2. 1. I am not the Western media. In the USA, the media portrays sub-Saharan Africa as all dusty villages, famine, civil war, mass rape by the military, Ebola, parasites, fecal matter in rivers that people drink from, and children with bloated bellies with flies on their faces. It is irrelevant that this is unfair. Life is unfair. The reason that when you say the word “Africa” that the average American thinks of dusty villages of children with flies on their faces and bloated bellies is because the average American has never seen pictures of clean African cities. After awhile, Americans understandably doubt such exists. Are there supermarket chains in sub-Saharan Africa? Indoor air-conditioned shopping malls? Suburbs? Superhighways from the east coast of Africa to the west coast? Emergency medical systems? National space agencies? The average American not only has never seen pictures of these things in sub-Saharan Africa — we cannot even find pictures of progress in Africa on the internet. I used to be able to surf the internet all over Africa and other continents with ease. Now American search engines stop at the borders and it takes a lot of effort for me to surf outside the USA.

    Not only would many Americans agree with you about Western mass shootings but we Americans would point out to you that the National Rifle Association controls the US Congress. A popular documentary here is titled “Bowling for Columbine”. Americans are afraid of everything but especially people of color and so they shoot and kill and get away with it, as the George Zimmerman case proves. But we are not here to analyze social ills in North America or Africa. We are here to accelerate progress in general and accelerate space progress in particular.

    I encourage African visitors to the USA to make a point of going to news editors and news executives and ask them why they malign sub-Saharan Africa. This ought to be a mandatory part of the itinerary of every Black African when they are in the USA on business, family matters, religious matters, school study, or vacation. It might take a few centuries but eventually even the stupidest news people will figure out that perhaps their coverage of Africa needs a little work.

    2. I strongly disagree with you when you do not put business on the tip of the spear. Government space programs tend to destroy free space. We do not need totalitarian or statist or authoritarian regimes in space. As we have already discussed, they have done enough damage down here on Earth. If you want private investment in space, then the private sector needs to take the lead. Perhaps Kenya is not interested in becoming a space flag of convenience the way Liberia has been a maritime flag of convenience or Switzerland has been a banking flag of convenience but I guarantee you that some nations will see an opportunity. In fact, the Isle of Man in Europe is making significant moves toward getting dominant market share in space finance.

    The role of the public sector (the Kenyan Space Agency or the Kenyan government in general) ought to be to address the image problems that were discussed above. One reason that sub-Saharan Africa has these unfair lopsided images in the Western media is because economic development agencies in Africa are mostly unwilling to advertise. If a business person from some region in the USA expresses even the slightest interest in another region or another nation, they will be inundated with economic development mail asking them to take a look at their city or county or state or nation. They will receive slick brochures and magazines and invitations to come and tour their location. Growing up I got such mail from Apartheid South Africa that portrayed that nation in glowing terms.

    Part of the genius of Nelson Mandela is that he calculated that after majority rule, that it would be best for his nation if white South Africans did not emigrate in terror of retribution. A practical man, Mr. Mandela was more interested in making sure that his people had food to eat and a roof over their heads. Unfortunately, South Africa lost one Elon Musk. That one miss will reverberate for decades because Elon Musk is a superstar in America. Individuals matter.
    I would advise Kenya to not lose valuable business men and business women because it put government first. If you want Kenya in space, this is how to do it.

  3. Hi Bowman,
    Once again you raise very genuine arguments…

    I find it quite intriguing when you say…

    “… I encourage African visitors to the USA to make a point of going to news editors and news executives and ask them why they malign sub-Saharan Africa. This ought to be a mandatory part of the itinerary of every Black African when they are in the USA …”

    That is good food for thought for us Africans and you could be onto something there.

    The reason why I have reservations about putting private enterprise at the tip of the spear in integrating space technology in Kenya is;

    The objective is to adopt space technology for sustainable national development. There should be a resolute and unyielding connection between space technology in the country and national sustainable development goals. Since private enterprise is motivated by the desire to maximize profits, it is likely to overlook those aspects/areas of space technology application that may not entice profit–despite these areas being crucial for sustainable development.

    However, private enterprise is an indispensable component of the envisioned space sector in Kenya. It should and will be on the forefront of some aspects in space technology integration in Kenya such as certain technology innovation, space tourism and recreation etc. Moreover, Kenya needs to employ a lot of the entrepreneurial practices learned in private high tech sectors e.g the mobile phone industry, in instituting space technology domestically.

    Even Elon Musk relies on financial backing and launch contracts from NASA. Without the ISS and NASA, the dragon spacecraft development would have followed a less trajectory.

  4. Comments by Andy Witts (Linkedin)
    hello Peter,

    I have read the full article on your blog and commend you for identifying all of the challenges ahead. You are correct in that this is not unique to Kenya, we have just completed the feasibility study for Thailand’s next space program, who are slightly more advanced, but also have a large agricultural sector and need to have a space development that is relevant to the country as a whole.
    To get the buy-in from your government departments, you need to show some values from space, how the utilisation of satellite data can help the agricultural sector, urban planning, security, disaster management etc. A lot of these are downstream activities and Kenya would not need to own a space system, but will need a roadmap to show how the procurement of a space system in the future could build the natioanal capabilities and have spin-offs into other areas of development. You need to show how this would be a co-development, bringing the capabilities of Kenya through, and not just spending money abroad.
    Any help I can give on this, please ask.

  5. Andy,
    I absolutely concur with you and it is notable that you are tackling the “Why Space” questions on the ground in Thailand. Thank you for your offer because your experiences are definitely invaluable as a predecessor on this path.

    I started my posts on this site by addressing this very issue. In summary, I stated that…..

    Kenya needs space technology … because this specialized capability is inherently endowed to accelerate the realization of national sustainable development goals; expeditiously transforming Kenya into a newly industrialized country.

    Moreover, the direct connection between space technology and national development needs have been elucidated in the post on “Why Kenya Needs Space-Based Technology (https://spacekenya.org/2012/07/26/why-kenya-needs-space-based-technology-2/)”

    The subsequent posts explore how to acquire and integrate this technology in the country.

    P. Waswa

  6. Comment by Allan Okoth (Linkedin)
    Ecuador is South America’s fourth smallest nation but has surprisingly managed to develop two low-cost educational satellites within a span of three months: Pegasus launched on 26th April from a Chinese spaceport and Krysaor that is due for launch this month aboard a Russian rocket.

    The interesting things about Ecuador’s approach to attaining space-faring status are:

    1. A small private NGO, EXA, simply decide that their nation needed to make the leap into space and instead of arguing about it simply came up with an innovative approach hinged on low-cost design and development coupled to university research. The cost of design and development thus was a mere US$30,000 because the technicians worked on the project for national glory and academic accolades.

    2. Rather that focusing on absolute technology they simply determined the first satellite to be a ‘demonstrator’ satellite which would galvanize national attention and the second one (a twin of the first one) was designed to sustain critical mass for a sustained space research program.

    3. So surprised and impressed was the Ecuadorian Government that it decided to cover up it previous lackadaisical attitude by footing the launch costs aboard a Chinese rocket. Additionally, the national television channel and other state media covered the ‘historic’ launch of Ecuador’s first satellite with the President himself making a national speech to mark the occasion.

    4. Rather than going for complicated subsystems that would be shrouded in IP and technological secrets they went for COTS (Commercial Of-The -Shelf) components that are offered by Pumpkin Inc (USA) and ISIS (Netherlands). This effectively meant that EXA got a big bang for minimal bucks and effectively became the de-facto Ecuadorian space agency to boot!!

    The age of personal pay-and-park satellites has arrived with the emergence of such platforms as InterOrbital Systems Inc’s tubesat, cubesats and low-cost launch aboard IOS’s Neptune-V rockets. Additionally, your assertion that space technology transfer might be difficult does not really stand to scrutiny. The emergence of China as a facilitator for Africa’s space aspirations has altered the equation considerably. China has cut deals with Nigeria and DRC for turnkey satellite projects and almost possibly will be doing the same for Tanzania just so that that nation may pip Kenya in the race-to-space.

    The only limitation to Kenya getting into space is the fact that professionals make it seem like it is impossible by unfurling a long list of technical and financial obstacles that do not really exist in the first place. Indeed, this year two American high schools are sending satellites into space after the Thomas Jefferson high School did the same in 2012; in the face of that is it really plausible to imagine that an entire nation of 40M people would be unable to stamp its place in space? Once any Kenyan launches even a pen into space there will be a cascade of ideas and approaches to building and sustaining a Kenyan space program – it is the way Kenyans have always done things.

    1. Allan,
      Thank you for the comments. You raise interesting fundamental observations that this site aims to address.

      Firstly, the contents of http://www.spacekenya.org aim to elucidate on how Kenya can establish a domestic “Space Technology Sector” to accelerate meeting national development needs in a sustainable manner.
      This is a lengthier, more complex and a more elaborate undertaking than simply launching a rudimentary platform in space—a postulation palpable in your post.

      I have given the Ecuador approach in my post on “Space Technology in other Industrializing Countries—II” (https://spacekenya.org/2012/12/16/space-technology-in-other-industrializing-countries-ii/)
      and further extracted lessons from this and other approaches in my post on…
      “Lessons Extricated from the Experiences of Kenya’s Predecessors in Embracing Space Technology” (https://spacekenya.org/2013/01/21/lessons-extricated-from-the-experiences-of-kenyas-predecessors-in-embracing-space-technology/)

      Presently, there is a plethora of players who are willing to offer turnkey space systems ranging from picosats to geostationary multi-transponder vehicles. Consequently, all one needs are finances and you can have a fleet of satellites with your name in orbit.
      However, I believe it is more sagacious to invest the national wealth wisely by nurturing a domestic space technology capacity so that you do not have to pay the Chinese ( or anybody else) to develop turnkey systems for you. I don’t think it is necessary to further expound on this approach. It is plainly self explanatory.

      I am not sure what exactly you mean here…
      “… Additionally, your assertion that space technology transfer might be difficult does not really stand to scrutiny…”
      Please expound.
      The space-race died with the end of the cold war. It was a product of that era since militarization of space was regarded as force multiplier and strategy expander. Presently, inter-agency cooperation is more the norm and that is why emphasis is placed on collaborative endeavors like the International Space Station and a plethora of other earth observation and interplanetary missions. Consequently it will be myopic and counter-productive to have a regional or Africa-wide mini space-race. This is essentially synonymous with the footprint and flag missions of the bygone era that were unsustainable and fizzled out. Let us not repeat this mistake! Please.

      You assert that …..
      “…The only limitation to Kenya getting into space is the fact that professionals make it seem like it is impossible by unfurling a long list of technical and financial obstacles that do not really exist in the first place…”
      Allan, that is not true.

      Further, there is also a clear difference between Kenya going into space and Kenya being taken into space. However, the fundamental question should be why we are getting into space and is it worthwhile.

      P. Waswa

    2. A couple of qualifications and corrections to what Mr. Okoth wrote:

      However one might measure Ecuador’s size, it has a fairly high GINI index. It’s HDI is about 0.72 as against Kenya’s 0.52.

      President Correa did not give a speech to “mark the occasion” of the launch of Pegaso by the Chinese. He talked about it during his regularly scheduled weekly address.

      The cost of Pegaso is a matter of debate within Ecuador’s tiny NewSpace community. So is its provenance. Some have said that China was paid much more than is usual for a secondary payload of cubesat. EXA has refused to release the design as open source. This has led to speculation that EXA simply does not have the required expertise, even with plug-and-play parts such as those from Pumpkin, and that it was the Chinese who made the satellite, for a fee that was simply hidden in the launch cost.

      “The age of personal pay-and-park satellites has arrived with the emergence of such platforms as InterOrbital Systems Inc’s tubesat, cubesats and low-cost launch aboard IOS’s Neptune-V rockets.”

      Make that “would arrive”, at best. It will be true when IOS has actually launched a Neptune-V. IOS has long history of overpromising and underdelivering. Note that the Wikipedia article about IOS is sourced largely from claims made on its website.


  7. Hi Peter,

    Quite an informative blog and thanks for this initiative. I believe Kenya is ripe to establish a thriving space sector. Currently there is concerted effort to get the space sector off the ground. The National Space Secretariat, the precursor to the National Space Agency, is working on some initiatives to enlighten the stakeholders on the benefits of space. Various players in both the private and public sector are using space derived data for various applications. What is needed is thus to have an organized and directed approach.

    My take is that ‘we’ should turn the challenges to opportunities for Kenya to join the space faring countries. We need to create as much awareness as possible. Promote STEM initiatives in schools, colleges and universities to promote space science and technology. In this regard, i would suggest cansat, rocket and robotics competitions. This would create the excitement and more importantly basic understanding of Space technology. This can then be scaled up to cubesat initiatives. I know of such initiatives but more needs to be done. Start by using products off-the-shelf and progress to making our own basic systems. It will take time but it will be a beginning.

    Like you mentioned, a multi faceted approach is needed. We need to learn from those who have proceeded us as well as those we are sharing the same predicaments and challenges. I hope you can share the findings from Thailand. I hope we can also create linkages with prospective partners out there who would wish to assist Kenya grow its space sector. It will take each of our modest effort to help Kenya develop its space sector.


  8. The best is to have a department in the University really committed to some students doing a demonstrator satellite. Any other road is bureaucratic and won’t see a Kenya space agency realised.

  9. Hi John,

    I recently read some articles on UNISEC where you featured on nanosatellites for Kenya. Could you share your experience from Japan and whether its tenable for Kenya.



  10. I have been advocating for “Space credits” in the universities so that students would find a need to participate in space affairs. For example in the Nanosatellites, or even in educational satellites it is possible t have a group of students say in Mechanical or Electrical engineering start a design and follow it up to launch while getting their academic credits. In that way Kenya would have made a group of Kenyans who can advance space sector in Kenya. We started a forum called Kenya Outer Space Affairs (KOSA) but after a few meetings, the attendance and enthusiasm dropped because of where to channel the inputs.
    I think our goal in having a space agency would solely to stimulate technology development. Other issues of farming, navigation etc will follow later.

  11. Comment by Iain Meek (Linkedin)

    Well done, Mr Waswa, for putting it together. Very pleased to see that you have thought of solutions to your challenges. Might I suggest that you hilight the solutions as they are rather hidden at the end of each section?
    Some other positives are Kenya’s location on the equator and the existence of the San Marco complex as a paradigm for others.
    Good luck.

  12. Thank you Iain Meek,

    I’ll definitely consider revisiting the probable solutions to the envisioned potential challenges.

    Moreover, I have previously addressed the advantages of Kenya’s geographical location below (item No. 4);


    and the San Marco station .



    P. Waswa

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