Kenya Space Sector Formulation

The definitive road-map that Kenya needs to follow in order to establish a domestic space sector from scratch will essentially entail ascending the space technology capability hierarchy pyramid.

This scrupulous technology capability evolution process will involve initial lumpy resource investments whose benefits will be commensurate with the level technology sophistication.

We choose to segment Kenya’s road-map to establish a domestic space sector into 8 phases and describe the respective activities required at each phase. These phases are summarized in the schematic below.

roadmap3
Road-map to establish the Kenya space sector.

Though the technological capabilities phases might appear contiguous, it does not mean that 100% fulfillment of the activities in a particular phase is a prerequisite for engaging in the activities of the immediately succeeding phase. The activities of a given phase will tend to diffuse to immediately adjacent phases (or even a couple of phases further away) to varying degrees. For instance, though the indigenous mastery of launch capability is designated in phase 7, the prerequisite undertakings to realize this milestone are actually executed in prior phases 1 to 6.  The segmented phases in effect highlight the key space technology milestones to be achieved as key performance indicators. Each phase is further illustrated with the corresponding technological capability as defined by the space technology capability hierarchy pyramid.

Next, we shall explore further the details of each phase.

  •  Phase 1

This phase is primarily tasked with establishing the prerequisite foundational structures upon which the domestic space sector will be established. The obligatory sensitization campaign, political groundwork, legal framework and fiscal rationalization will be conducted during this phase. Activities here are hence principally focused on creating the requisite enabling environment to commence the formation of the Kenya space sector.

Creating general awareness and educating the masses on space technology and its relevance to the apparent national development needs is hence the first activity to be undertaken. Moreover, general sensitization of Kenyans about space technology is essential because it will dovetail into drumming up the vital political will and support needed to facilitate burgeoning of the sector. Creating this awareness should be done by professionals and organizations that possess unquestionable expertise in space matters. A good example is this website—www.spacekenya.org.

A successful public awareness drive would culminate in realizing a critical awareness threshold required to precipitate an unyielding political will. Political will and support are indispensable if the government is to act and take the necessary measures required to establish a domestic space sector.

Riding on the accrued political support from the public, legislature and executive, next, the government should embark on developing a national space policy. Appropriate vehicles like a commission composed of space industry experts, public policy experts, academicians, international relations experts etc should be constituted to draft Kenya’s space policy. Furthermore, this undertaking should be done in conjunction with assistance from friendly countries that possess established space programs; Kenya will immensely benefit from their experiences.

The adopted Kenya space policy will act to guide the legislature in enacting the relevant legal framework that will render the domestic space sector operational.  Within the legal framework, a clear and effective regulatory framework is imperative to guarantee adherence to competitive international practices.

A Kenyan space policy would further guide the country in defining the space sector objectives. As we previously stated, space technology should directly serve the socioeconomic needs of the masses. Consequently, the primary objective of the Kenyan space sector should be to expedite the national development agenda and lift the citizens out of poverty. Period! Derivatives from this fundamental objective will constitute the detailed secondary and tertiary  objectives.

It is also important to articulate the measures of performance and key performance indicators to guide and evaluate the progress of the envisioned space sector in this phase. The activities in this phase can be effectively accomplished within 1 to 5 five years based on the government’s level of commitment and dedication.

10 thoughts on “Kenya Space Sector Formulation

  1. Comment By Michael Turner (Linkedin)
    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/michael-turner/0/1a6/735

    Nice one. Since blogged at the Project Persephone Facebook page. Keep it up, Peter.

    It’s little understood now, but a lot of the U.S. space program’s spending was aimed at poverty alleviation in the U.S. South. NASA still has concentrations of spending in places that would probably have only continued to be backwater areas otherwise (Huntsville, AL; Florida’s Space Coast, among others.) Kenya is part of the Global South. Equatorial launch is a proven money-maker. This is the generation that has to make it happen.

  2. Thank you Micheal for emphasizing that point. In countries with sophisticated space sectors, somehow the basic connection between poverty alleviation and investment in space technology is often overlooked. The mesmerizing technological feats always overshadow the the recognition that this fundamental objective has been realized.

    P. Waswa

  3. Thank you for the comments Shem.
    The subsequent post will dwell on the Kenya Space Sector organizational framework. It is here that I shall discuss the role of the institutions you have mentioned and many others.

    Keep the comments coming as this site aims to not only educate but also provoke pertinent discussions on space technology in Kenya.
    -Peter Waswa

  4. Thanks Peter,
    I have seen the thoughts you have put into this and is recommendable. I have always said structure should follow form for our Kenya space sector and not the other way round. Let us get ways to start small student projects, those projects will have requirements such as funding, launch, missions etc. Soon a credible and technical team will be there and they will form a structure that goes with the form. I have tried to have a University professor start such a program and give students credit points as part of their academic curriculum. My two cents.-John Mugwe

  5. Absolutely John. Thank you for the comments.
    Once we have the right organizational framework (structure) guiding the roles and functions of various space sector players; then, such-like educational/training activities you have mentioned will have a rightful justification and purpose. Their relevance and relation to other areas of the sector e.g. manufacturing, research etc will also be explicit and intended.
    Regards,
    P. Waswa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s