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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya’s first earth observation satellite was launched into space Saturday after two aborted attempts earlier in the week.

The African country’s Taifa-1 was among the satellites on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

The rocket’s launch had to be scrubbed twice previously due to bad weather.

Kenya’s satellite will fly over the country every four days and gather data for agriculture, land and environment monitoring, according to the Kenya Space Agency.

Data from the satellite is expected in the coming months, and the agency has set up a team of analysts. It says the information will be distributed free to government agencies and to private companies for a reasonable fee.

A file image on a 3U Earth Observation satellite suspended in space. It is similar to the Taifa-1 satellite set to launch on April, 11 2023. PHOTO|COURTESY.

Kenya satellite takes off

The satellite was developed and designed by Kenyans but manufactured at Endurosat in Bulgaria at a total cost of 50 million Kenyan shillings ($371,000).

Kenyans were eager to watch the Falcon 9?s launch online. Some described having the Taifa-1 enter orbit as a moment of national pride.

Kenya launched an experimental nanosatellite that lifted from the International Space Station in 2018.

Last year, a first-of-its-kind South African telescope has detected a powerful, radio-wave laser called a “megamaser” from a whopping 5 billion light years away. Completed in 2018, South Africa’s MeerKAT telescope boasts an array of 64 dishes, each 13.5 meters in diameter, making it the most sensitive telescope in the world. 

As of the end of 2022, 14 African countries had launched a total of 52 satellites, according to consulting firm Space Hubs Africa.

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