1KUNS-PF

Summary

1KUNS-PF
1KUNS-PF 1-U Cubesat.jpg
1KUNS-PF 1-U Cubesat
Mission typeTechnology demonstration
Earth observation
OperatorUniversity of Nairobi
COSPAR ID1998-067NP
SATCAT no.43466[1]
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type1U CubeSat
Launch mass1 kg (2.2 lb)
Dimensions10 cm (4 in) cubed
Start of mission
Launch date2 April 2018 UTC
Launch siteKennedy LC-39A
ContractorSpaceX
Entered service11 May 2018, 10:51 UTC
End of mission
Decay date11 June 2020
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Semi-major axis6,778.8 km (4,212.2 mi)
Eccentricity0.0004315
Inclination51.64[2]
Period93
 

1KUNS-PF (1st Kenyan University NanoSatellite-Precursor Flight) was the first Kenyan owned satellite to be launched into space.[3][4] The cubesat was developed and assembled by the University of Nairobi. Technical support was provided by Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency and it was launched from the International Space Station[4] after being delivered to the station by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Background

The idea to have a Kenyan built satellite in space began in September 2015 with the planning and design of the space module. Financial support was obtained for the project when the University of Nairobi won a competitive grant from the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in 2016.[5] The University of Nairobi was the first institution to benefit from a joint project between the United Nations and JAXA.[5] The satellite was given the acronym 1KUNS-PF which in full is First Kenya University Nano Satellite-Precursor Flight. External technical support was provided by Sapienza University together with two Italian companies.[6] The cost of the programme was about a million dollars.[6] The satellite orbited 400 kilometers above the Earth.[7]

Launch and purpose

On 2 April 2018, the satellite was carried on the International Space Station on board a SpaceX CRS-14 which was launched on a Falcon 9 rocket with help from the National Aeronautic and Space Administration.[8] It was deployed from the space station into its orbit from the Kibō module on 11 May 2018.[5] Its signal was successfully received from the Ground Station in Rome by the students of Sapienza University of Rome. Its launch was the third for an African country after GhanaSat-1 and Nigeria EduSat-1 which went into service in 2017.[9][10] In addition to 1KUNS-PF two other nano satellites, Ubakusat and Proyecto Irazú were also on board the Falcon-9 rocket to the ISS. All three satellites were deployed into space from the ISS by Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai.[5]

The 1KUNS-PF was a 1 unit cubesat. It was an experimental cubesat, with the main mission being to create awareness to the locals on the benefits of space uses. On board the cubesat, there were camera payloads, which were used to take mapping images of Kenya and other East Africa countries within the vicinity of its orbit. The cubesat was designed to have a lifespan of one year and its operations were within the UN space use mitigation measures.

1KUNS-PF deorbited in June 2020.

References

  1. ^ https://1kuns-pf.ns0.it/index.php/track-1kuns-pf/
  2. ^ Tracker, Orbit. "1KUNS-PF | Orbit Tracker". orbit-tracker.com. Retrieved 18 May 2018.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Kenya's first satellite is now in Earth orbit". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Africa Live this week:". BBC News. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d "Kenya's first satellite released from Japan's Kibo module at ISS". The Japan Times Online. 12 May 2018. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b Schearf, Daniel. "Kenya Steps Into Space with First Satellite Launch". VOA. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  7. ^ "1KUNS-PF" (PDF). Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Kenya's first locally made nanosatellite will be launched from ISS in May". N2YO.com – Real Time Satellite Tracking and Predictions. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  9. ^ Ngasike, Kenneth Kipruto and Lucas. "Cheers as Kenya's first satellite sent to space". The Standard. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  10. ^ Taiwo, Shakirudeen. "4 African countries with satellites in the orbit". Retrieved 17 May 2018.