Kenya will launch its first operational satellite into space in the United States on April 10 with the American company SpaceX, the Kenyan Ministry of Defense and the Kenyan Space Agency announced on Monday (April 3).

This satellite will “provide accurate and regular satellite data” which will be useful especially in the “areas of agriculture and food security, natural resource and disaster management and environmental monitoring”, according to the communicated.

Kenya, the economic powerhouse of East Africa, is affected by a historic drought, after several failed rainy seasons. The satellite, Taifa-1 (“Nation-1” in Swahili), “was designed and developed by a team of Kenyan researchers,” the statement continued.

This launch, from the US base in Vandenberg, California, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, is “an important milestone for Kenya’s space program and is expected to contribute significantly to spurring the growth of satellite development, data analysis and processing and application development capabilities of Kenya’s nascent space economy,” said the Ministry of Defense and the Kenyan Space Agency.

In 2018, Kenya sent its first nanosatellite. By 2022, at least thirteen African countries had manufactured forty-eight satellites, according to Space in Africa, a Nigerian company that tracks African space programs. Egypt was the first country on the continent to send a satellite into space, in 1998.