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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Wanjiku Kanjumba: Kenya’s First Astronaut, a US Space Academy Graduate

  • Wanjiku Chebet Kanjumba is a Kenyan Astronaut Engineer and Kenya’s first Scientist-Astronaut candidate program graduate from the Advanced PoSSUM Space Academy, USA. 

    As a barrier breaker, Chebet holds a Master of Science in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which she termed as a dream come true.

    According to her LinkedIn page, the astronaut is experienced in Technical and Analytical Skills, Geographic Information System (GIS) operations, Percipient Personal Strengths, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE), Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Teamwork, Leadership, Problem Solving, and Spacecraft and Satellite Design.

    Wanjiku Chebet Kanjumba, Kenyan born Astronaut Engineer and Kenya’s first Scientist-Astronaut candidate program graduate from the Advanced PoSSUM Space Academy, USA.
    Courtesy

    During her studies in the US, Chebet completed courses in Fluid Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, Statics, Macroeconomics, Aerodynamics, Engineering Materials, Space Station Systems and Operations, Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics and Spacecraft Preliminary Design.

    She indicates on her LinkedIn that she further studied Spacecraft Control, Space Mechanics, Turbine and Rocket Engines, Satellite & Spacecraft Systems, Life Support Systems, Optimal Control, Adaptive Control, Computational Biomechanics, Operations Research, Nonlinear Systems Analysis, Modern Control Systems, and Aerospace Structures.

    Further, Chebet prides herself as an entrepreneur and is the Director and Assistant Head of Strategy & Communications of Space Partnerships and Research Company in Kenya (SPARC), East Africa’s first independent space company. 

    In an interview with Space in Africa, Chebet revealed that her interest in outer space started when she was young and her desire to learn more was sparked by Science. 

    The 25-year-old also revealed that she spent a lot of time watching the launch of space shuttles in the US. She collected comics and books on astronomy for further studies. 

    “I wanted to combine my passion for learning about space and how things work – and the answer was Aerospace Engineering. So, I joined Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to do my Bachelor’s and Masters in Aerospace Engineering. 

    “I applied to the program and got accepted because of my technical background. Project PoSSUM was relatively new at the time, and not many people had graduated from their academy, and it just happened that I was the first Kenyan to be accepted to the program. It was a dream come true,” she was quoted by the publication.

    After completing her studies, Chebet stated that she had the chance to be employed full time in one of the top airlines in the US in the engineering department, but she had other plans for her career.

    Wanjiku Chebet Kanjumba, Kenyan born Astronaut Engineer and Kenya's first Scientist-Astronaut candidate program graduate from the Advanced PoSSUM Space Academy, USA.
    Wanjiku Chebet Kanjumba, Kenyan born Astronaut Engineer and Kenya’s first Scientist-Astronaut candidate program graduate from the Advanced PoSSUM Space Academy, USA.
    Courtesy

    “I worked with people around my age and those in their 70s, so I got to analyse their different perspectives to the work I did. I didn’t see the point of personally working for any corporation for my whole life.

    “So, I started brainstorming on some idea I had and entered the startup world. I made a breakthrough but couldn’t get funding. Then I met someone with a similar experience. I pitched the ideas of Vicillion to him and tried to kill two birds with one stone and ever since we’ve been working on the company,†Chebet explained.

  • Source: KENYAGIST.COM

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