Nigeria Space Programs
In 1999, the Federal Government of Nigeria approved the Nigerian Space Policy and the implementation of the space program, as outlined in the policy, commenced with the establishment of a National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. The mission of NASRDA is to vigorously pursue the attainment of space capabilities and the enhancement of the quality of life of its people. The space policy has a 25-year program tailored towards the development of Space Science and Technology in Nigeria through research and development (R&D), as well as capacity-building in the fields of science, engineering, space law and administration for sustainable national development. The policy has both short- and long-term space mission programs. The implementation of the programs focusses on the achievement of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) and other regional and national socio-economic development objectives as highlighted by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and National Economic Empowerment & Development Strategies (NEEDS).
Nigeria intends to vigorously pursue the attainment of space capabilities as an essential tool for its socio-economic development and the enhancement of the quality of life of its people. The Nation shall achieve this through research, rigorous education, engineering development, design and manufacture of appropriate hardware and software in space technology, including transport and payloads, such as satellite, telescopes and antennas for scientific research and applications. The Government shall also foster Bi-lateral and international cooperation in all aspects of Space Science and Technology to ensure that Nigerian Scientists and Engineers benefit from global developments in the space enterprise.
The vision of Nigeria and Africa is to attain competence and capabilities in relevant areas of space science and technology that would impact on sustainable socio-economic development and improve the quality of life of Nigerians and Africans, and to make Africa pro-active and also compete in space exploration.
For the attainment of space capabilities, Nigeria's space efforts focus on research and rigorous education, engineering development, design and manufacture, particularly in the areas of instrumentation, rocketry and small satellites as well as in satellite data acquisition, processing, analysis and management of related software. The establishment of a national earth observation station for remote sensing and satellite meteorology data acquisition enhanced the indigenous ability to adopt, modify and create new techniques for national resources inventories, monitoring, evaluation and management.
Nigerian Space Agency - the National Space Research and Development Agency [NASRDA] was established with a mission to pursue the development and application of space science and technology for the socio-economic benefits of the nation and the Nigerian space programme constitutes an important component of the national strategy for socio-economic development through space application and participation in the global industry.
The overall agenda of the Nigeria's space agenda is geared towards sustainable national development and security including the development of new resources, understanding of our environment and the maintenance of national security. The National Geospatial Data Infrastructure [NGDI] coordinated by [NASRDA], will facilitate efficient production, management, dissemination and use of geospatial information for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Nigeria launched its first satellite, NigeriaSat 1, into orbit in September 2003, after Nigerian experts underwent training in London. The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) also embarked on the next generations of satellites: a communication satellite to be called NigcomSat-1 and a high resolution African Resources Management Constellation (ARMC) satellite, NigeriaSat-2.
Further plans to develop a communication satellite were in progress; it was recognized that ineffective communications represented one of the greatest barriers to socio-economic development and NigComSAT would be designed to contribute to providing an adequate telecommunications system throughout Nigeria and regional coverage to ECOWAS countries.
Nigeria realized the importance of this technology, did not hesitate in leapfrogging to the technology. Satellite can perform several different operations depending on the type of payload. Most notable are Remote Sensing Satellite, Communication Satellite, Astronomical Satellite, Meteorology Satellite, and Space Station. Nigeria is presently pursuing the development of the first two types of satellite.
Short Term Program Objectives are acess to real-time and affordable Earth Observation data, (meteorology and remote sensing), for weather forecast, resources inventory and environmental and disaster management, through either direct purchase of images from existing satellites or the development of (a) Earth observation satellite and (b) low cost ground receiving station. Access to affordable satellite communication back-bone, such as the on-going NigcomSat-1 project and Rascom, and infrastructure to meet the need for ICT - based investment/business opportunities and socio-economic development.
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