AFRICA NEWS: Kenya: Marsabit County Named Most Suitable For Spaceport

dWeb.News Article from Daniel Webster dWeb.News


Nairobi — Marsabit County was named the most appropriate County to establish a Spaceport.

It’s been named by Viwanda Africa Group and Longshot Space Technology. A team of student engineers from Kenyatta universities examined the feasibility of setting up a Spaceport in Kenya.

Marsabit was the winner of a competition that included 7 key competitors, including Laikipia (Kilifi), Tana River and Isiolo as well as Narok Counties.

Speaking Monday as she received the report, Col. Hilary Kipkosgey, Director of Kenya Space Agency, said that the many benefits of setting up a spaceport capable to launch rockets in Kenya would positively impact the country’s growth.

” The development of highly innovative industries like this creates current and future jobs opportunities in many industries and offers the potential to grow in support industries. Kipkosgey stated that such a spaceport would foster innovation, research, and knowledge growth within the country. This could lead to Kenya becoming a major player in the global space sector.

Kenyatta University Chairperson Department of Mechanical Engineering Eng. Victor Mwongera (principal investigator, aerospace engineer) said that the report offers a solid initial examination of the viability for establishing a Kenyan spaceport.

“The report discusses the advantages of setting up a spaceport, including the best location, considerations, commercial viability, and how the private sector and the government should collaborate to make it happen. The arguments presented here show that the establishment of a spaceport is not only feasible, but something that our nation should strive to achieve,” Dr Mwongera said.

The Kenya Spaceport Research, which drew data from various national and global organizations, as well as guidance from the Kenya Space Agency (KSA), carried out an assessment among all the 47 counties where Marsabit County emerged as the most favorable location to set up a Space Port due to its large tracts of unoccupied, affordable land, sparse population density, low trafficked airspace, generally flat terrain and proximity to the LAPPSET corridor.

” The Space sector needs innovative, forward-thinking minds. This is something that our youth have in abundance. “This is an area Kenya can grow in and lead,” Nyambura Kamau, Viwanda Africa CEO, noted.

The country’s potential as a launch site for space launches prompted the interest in conducting the survey in Kenya. This interest was shared by Long Shot, a US-based space startup.

“A World map shows that Kenya is one of 6 to 7 countries with the best placements for a space launch. After visiting Nairobi and researching Kenya, I found another advantage that the country has that may make it stand out in the world: its people,” Mike Grace, CEO of Longshot Space Technology said.

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Kenya is in a geographically advantageous position due to its lateral coordinates. Its location on the equator provides a space vehicle being launched from Kenya with a “speed boost” equivalent to an additional speed of 1,650 km/h, due to the earth’s rotation. This allows the launch vehicle’s ability to use less energy and transport heavier payloads into orbit.

According to the report, it’s estimated that the initial stage of the Spaceport construction will cost sh 5 billion, sh 7 billion annual operational costs and revenue of Ksh 1 billion per launch with an estimate of 5 launches within the first year of construction and an exponential rise to 60 launches by the 10th year of operation.

Research was conducted on the physical, economic, environmental, social, political and cultural factors that would be considered for the establishment of a spaceport.

A decision matrix was then used to analyze the 47 counties in Kenya based on the primary factors which affect the location of a spaceport (availability of land and population density) for the purpose of narrowing down to a select 7 counties for further analysis.

Marsabit is sparsely populated, has readily available, vast arid lands, and connectivity to the LAPSSET transport corridor. It is possible to launch vehicles into space from Marsabit’s northern location, which has a restricted military aviation area.

The report suggested that there might be additional infrastructure needed, such as roads and boreholes, or solar farms.

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