Kenya Space Agency visits College of Engineering on Mid-Term Review of Nanosatellite Development by JKUAT Engineering Students

The representatives from JKUAT and KSA during the Project Review Meeting at iPIC

The College of Engineering and Technology in JKUAT main campus, hosted a team from Kenya Space Agency for a mid-term review of Nanosatellite Development Project. The project is being undertaken by a group of students from the college. It has been funded by the Kenya Space Agency and is being run under the auspices of College of Engineering and Technology through the Nanosatellite Research Chair. Six JKUAT engineering students won the sponsorship in a symposium organised to leverage on academia’s technical capability and privileged knowledge on satellite development in September 2020.

When complete as per the proposal by the students undertaking the research, the project shall culminate to nanosatellite innovation for disaster monitoring and mitigation especially those that occur in remote areas where communication infrastructure is underdeveloped.

The group of students undertaking the Project having a discussion after the review meeting

The review was to give the student innovators a platform to demonstrate the model of their proposal. It was hosted by the Principal, College of Engineering and Technology along with other faculty staff that are supporting the students with the research. The Kenya Space Agency multi-sectoral team which included an alumnus of JKUAT College of Engineering was composed of six representatives drawn from the Ministry of Defence, the Attorney General’s office, the Treasury, Forestry among other national government agencies and was led by Major Nyawande.

The Principal, College of Engineering and Technology, Dr. (Eng.) Hiram Ndiritu in his welcoming remarks lauded the Kenya Space Agency for funding the project. He affirmed JKUAT’s commitment to the project and any other collaborations that would be of mutual benefits.

The Kenya Space Agency team while giving their remarks underscored their commitment to continue partnering with JKUAT on the nanosatellite project and any other prospective Space Technology affairs. They also appreciated the reality of the challenge of COVID-19 that could have affected the progress of the project and proposed to the JKUAT team to consider requesting extension of timelines given for the project. The team also emphasized the need to put in place measures to ensure sustainability of the project since it was being undertaken by students who could soon be graduating and could have other engagements thereafter. In addition, the Kenya Space Agency team reiterated the objectives of the Research Chair that are:

  • Demystifying Space Technology.
  • Collaboration among departments.
  • Sustainability

In the long-term, the Agency aims at using Space Engineering to contribute to industrialization of the country – manufacturing of components locally due to demand for space technology resources.

Mr. Simon Njeru Manegene, a Lecturer of Electrical Engineering, on behalf of the faculty team highlighted the activities undertaken by the students, challenges encountered and the measures taken to avert the challenges.

The Students lead by Sackey Freshia explaining a point to members of the KSA team

The students, through their leader Sackey Freshia made their presentation in three categories consisting of:

  • Power subsystems
  • Mechanical structure
  • Communication subsystem

They demonstrated planning for phases of development, components obtained, fabrication and tests underway for the three categories by:

  • Physically showing progress including tests on individual components and subsystems
  • Indicating that after acquiring all components and testing the subsystems they will proceed to full assembly and final test

To give an impetus to the students to gain momentum to conclude the project objectively, through the question-and-answer session, the Kenya Space Agency team threw light on issues and scope, mechanism of launch and the duration of launch as well as issues regarding data capture and transmission.

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