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ITALY-KENYA COOPERATION

1KUNS, the cubesat has been handed over to JAXA

The nano-satellite, part of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) “IKUNS - Italian-Kenyan University Nano-Satellite” program, has been handed over to JAXA and is ready to fly to the ISS

The Kenyan 1U cubesat “1KUNS PF” (1st Kenyan University Nano Satellite - Precursor Flight), selected under the framework of the UNOOSA/JAXA “KiboCUBE” Program, has been handed over to JAXA and it is now at Tsukuba Space Centre, ready to be transferred to the International Space Station (ISS) and then deployed in orbit from the Japanese module, during next spring timeframe. Delegations from both Kenya and Italy, led by the Kenyan Ambassador in Japan, H.E. Solomon Maina, were involved in hand over procedures and final ceremony. 

1KUNS PF”, whose main objective is the capture of pictures of East Africa region, has been developed by University of Nairobi, with the support of Sapienza University of Rome, as part of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) “IKUNS - Italian-Kenyan University Nano-Satellite” program, aiming at the development of cubesats in academic environment with benefits not limited to education and training in space disciplines.

“This first achievement confirms the effectiveness of nano-satellites as powerful tool, also to promote collaboration and sustainable wider participation - said Simone Pirrotta, ASI IKUNS Program Manager, present at hand over to JAXA. “In particular, “1KUNS PF” cubesat strengthened the partnership between Italy and Kenya in space joined activities and the selection and review and acceptance by UNOOSA e JAXA further enlarged the international scale of the project, despite the limited scale of the hardware.”

For Sapienza University of Rome, prof. Fabio Santoni attended, together with two students strongly involved in the development. Nicolò Benini, on behalf of New Production Concept S.r.l also attended this procedure; New Production Concept S.r.l alongside Roboptics has supported the cubesat development.   

When in orbit, 1KUNS PF will be the first satellite of Kenya, so enforcing the ambitions of its recently born Space Agency to play an important role in this strategic field. Considering the longstanding bilateral relations between Italy and Kenya on space activities, the launch of 1KUNS will represent an important milestone also for Italy and ASI.

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Picture credits: JAXA