The Prospects Of Enhanced Space Science Training In Kenya
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To a limited extent, space exploration has been conducted in Kenya for almost the last two decades through a joint project (San Marco Project) between the Government of Kenya and the Government of Italy. Other space science activities in the country include remote sensing, space communications, meteorology and the use of navigation and positioning satellite systems. To sustain space science activities in Kenya will require specialized training in the various disciplines of space sciences. Currently, there are no well coordinated training programmes in the country. Consequently, there is an urgent need for a well planned and a well coordinated space science training programme. This could be achieved through international co-operation and joint ventures between Kenya and space science institutions/organizations worldwide. The paper justifies the need for training in space science in Kenya and discusses socio-economic as well as environmental gains which would be realized due to increased space science activities arising from such training. Some of these gains would include participation in the launching and tracking, and control of satellite, managing and running a space centre or satellite launching and tracking station, decoding and synthesizing data from satellites and disseminating such data for public and scientific uses. The paper further offers suggestions on how the training requirements cited above could be achieved. It also highlights the level of expertise in space science disciplines and provides specific recommendations on the types of personnel that need to be trained. In addition, various forms and levels of training required to strengthen the role of space science in socioeconomic development in Kenya, are discussed.