• Kyodo

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Japan’s space agency has announced that it will release Kenya’s first satellite — for no fee — from its Kibo laboratory at the International Space Station.

The move, announced Thursday, is expected to take place sometime in fiscal 2017, which begins next April.

Deploying the University of Nairobi’s microsatellite, which measures just 10 cm by 10 cm and weighs about 1 kg, will be Japan’s first instance of aiding developing nations without space-launch capabilities for purposes such as disaster prevention.

In September, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency agreed with the United Nations to support such launches, with a goal of sending one satellite into orbit each year.

The Kenyan satellite, dubbed 1KUNS-PF, an acronym for 1st Kenyan University Nano Satellite Precursor Flight, will test its technology for a future Earth observation mission, JAXA said.

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