Kenya's Position in Space Science Era
Technologies can be applied in satellite communication where data is transmitted through internet connectivity; this enables us to communicate globally. Currently there are many satellites taking images which are being used to monitor information from the surface of the earth. Hon. Wilber Ottichllo, Governor Vihiga County, and an alumnus University of Nairobi discussed this during a public lecture on Space Science at the University of Nairobi, College of Biological and Physical Sciences.
Giving examples of satellites, Hon Ottichilo noted the importance of space science technology especially in maritime and aviation industry. An application of space science observation is being able to have precise information on weather.
The Governor's lecture titled Kenya Position in the Space Era: Examining the Status on the Developments in Space Science and its Utilization for Accelerated Economic Development looked at the case of Vihiga County.
An example of a satellite mentioned was Landsat whose importance is collection of information about how the earth changes every day and through the satellites, data is available to analyse these changes on a daily basis. Other satellites mentioned include: meteosat - 4,7,8,10 and NOAA Satellites (GEOS 16,17 Suomi NPP, NOAA-20)
Among applications of space science technology is precision agriculture, where the county of Vihiga borrows in its application of technology. In precision agriculture, agriculture is monitored from satellites as well as drones. Monitoring of where you want to farm, the type of soil, what needs to be added to the soil as well as the inputs required takes place.
Other applications include: urban transport, route mapping, space tourism, natural resource management and national security.
Of these, urban transport is key as 70% of the world population will be living in urban centres in 2050, and analysis of transport information can be done through satellites.
The public lecture gave an opportunity to examine the status on the developments in space science and its utilization in Vihiga County.
In as much as satellites offer diverse advantages on reliability, global coverage, high speed access and cost effectiveness, it has its limitations. According to Hon. Ottichilo, manufacturing requires time and since the satellites have a given life-span, once they go to space, they cannot be taken back for repair. Additionally, the skills needed in space science need to be enhanced. He asserted that the country needs to input resources into Kenya Space Agency so that the agency has the best technical skills in space science.
In conclusion Hon. Ottichilo emphasized that space technology is a technology that is moving the world and any country not embracing this technology will find itself dependent on other countries for information. He encouraged the youth to embrace space science technology as it as a technology that offers a lot of opportunity in terms of employment and research.
Also present was Director Kenya Space Agency, Dr. John Njoroge Kimani.