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TUK creates satellite to monitor activity on Lake Victoria, report crime to authorities

The Technical University of Kenya (TUK) has developed a space project that will be used in monitoring boats and other water vessels in Lake Victoria.

A team from the Nairobi-based institution came up with the nanosatellite dubbed “TUKSat-1” that will not only track boats in the lake but also provide information to necessary authorities on overfishing and illegal fishing.

TUKSat-1 will also automatically relay information on organised crime taking place in the lake to authorities.

This invention comes at a time when several cases of insecurity have been reported in the lake. Monitoring of the lake has been a challenge for decades.

TUK now joins other universities like the University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenyatta University, and Moi University that have shown great interest in space innovation.

The innovation will improve emergency response rate for vessels in distress in the lake.

Colonel Hillary Kipkosgey, acting Director-General of Kenya Space Agency (KSA), challenged universities to tap into opportunities in space systems.

“Kenya is keen to develop its space system engineering capability. The pathway begins with the development of nanosatellites and microsatellites. That is why KSA values the work done by the talented and smart young men and women,” he said.

Prof Paul Baki, the principal investigator of the project, decried low funding for such kind of projects but asked for more collaboration among institutions.

“Going forward, it might be important to engage institutions that will provide their own budget, and I want to believe that you should not limit yourselves to capitation that you get from the government. You might want to partner with the National Research Fund, which has the money for infrastructure development,” he said.

He said the fact that nanosatellite was made by locals using local research infrastructure showed the ability to have commercial production of nanosatellites in the country.