Nigeria set to launch Africa’s first nanosatellite this month- DG NASRDA

  •        Nigeria to become a space power by 2030

The Director-General of National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Prof. Seidu Mohammed, has said Nigeria will be launching Africa’s first nanosatellite (an artificial satellite with a wet mass between 1 and 10 kg 2.2–22.0 lb)  into the orbit this month in a bid to study environmental parameters and help solve issues concerning our environment.

Prof. Mohammed while making the announcement disclosed that the Nigeria’s nanosatellite would be launched alongside four other countries between May 23 to May 27 from the launch base at Miami, Florida, U.S.

“Nigeria, along with other four countries – Japan, Ghana, Bangladesh and Nepal – in the last one year, came together to work in a constellation to build about five nanosatellites. You may ask ‘what are these nanosatellites for?’ It’s a scientific satellite that is to study environmental parameters. They would help in most of these environmental issues to study them – environmental characterization. In addition to that, they would also be carrying camera that would acquire some form of data,” he said.

“And what we have also demonstrated by this is the fact that Nigerian engineers and scientists earlier built Nigerian Sat-X using the laboratory in Missouri. They’ve gone ahead again to build nanosatellite in the laboratory in Kyushu University in Japan and all these are parts of efforts to sustain technology already transferred to Nigerian scientists and engineers,” he added.

He disclosed that the engineers that design and launch Nigerian satellites are at the Centre for Satellite Technology Development at NASRDA and by 2030 Nigeria would be a space power, where astronauts will be sent into space from a Nigerian-owned launch facility on the country’s soil.

“There is a ‘Roadmap for Development of Space Science and Technology’ ending in 2030.We hope by 2030, facilities for launch would have been provided in Nigeria so that by that year, we would have launched satellite from Nigeria into space,” he disclosed.

 “We would be able to complete our Assembling, Integration, Testing and Design before 2018, and by 2022, most of these efforts would begin to crystallize. The large-scale commercialization of space equipment would be possible in our country, and by 2030, we believe that there would be a launching facility from our country. We believe before 2030, there will be need for Nigeria to be an international space station,” he added.

So far, NASRDA since inception in 2001 has launched five satellites – three earth observation satellites and two communication satellites. NigeriaSat-I, an international disaster monitoring constellation satellite, built by a UK-based satellite technology company, Surrey Space Technology Limited, was the first satellite and was launched in 2003.

The second Nigerian satellite was NigComSat-I which was ordered and built in China in 2004 and launched on May 13, 2007; it was Africa’s first communication satellite.
NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X respectively were the third and fourth satellites developed by Surrey Space Technology Limited and they were launched together in Aug. 17, 2011. While, the fifth satellite was NigComSat-1R  launched on Dec. 19, 2011 by China.

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