Nigeria launches 2 new satellites into orbit

Aug 17, 2011 By BASHIR ADIGUN , Associated Press

(AP) -- Nigeria launched two observation satellites into orbit Wednesday, and authorities said they hoped to use the equipment to monitor weather in a region seasonally ravaged by disasters.

Nigeria launched NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X into orbit Wednesday morning from a Russian in the town of Yasny, President Goodluck Jonathan said on state-run television.

He described the event as "another milestone in our nation's effort to solve national problems through space technology."

The satellites could have a variety of applications, authorities said, which include monitoring disaster-prone areas in a country that stretches into Africa's Sahel, a belt of land on the Sahara Desert's southern fringe that sees . It experiences severe droughts in the dry season and devastating rainfall in the wet season. Floods last year displaced about 500,000 people nationwide, with most of them in the Sahel region.

Authorities said NigeriaSat-2 can detect anything wider than 8.2 feet (2.5 meters), such as cars. That means the satellites also could be used for military and intelligence purposes.

The satellite launch also spotlights Nigeria as a main African player in space technology development, rivaling countries such as South Africa and Algeria, which also have space programs. Despite the strides Nigeria's industry has made in recent years, it remains largely dependent on other nations' technology.

NigeriaSat-X was built by a team of Nigerian engineers and scientists at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. in the United Kingdom, while NigeriaSat-2 was built in collaboration with the U.K. company's team, said Felix Ale, a spokesman for the National Space Research and Development Agency.

Nigerian officials hope this launch goes better than the country's last. In May 2007, Nigeria launched its first communication satellite, built by a Chinese team and launched from a Chinese pad. NIGCOMSAT-1 was expected to provide phone, broadband Internet and broadcasting services in Africa's most populous country, but it was lost in just over a year later. Authorities said a replacement satellite will be launched before the end of the year.

Explore further: International Space Station researcher guides aim to maximize science

4 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NIGCOMSAT 1 Passes Design Appraisal

Jul 07, 2005

The NIGCOMSAT 1 (Nigerian Communication Satellite) to be exported to Nigeria has passed preliminary design appraisal on July 1st in Beijing. At present all the work, involving the satellite development, rocket production and ...

India launches seven satellites: space agency

Sep 23, 2009

India successfully launched seven satellites including six from foreign countries on Wednesday, officials said, underlining the country's ambitions in the space business.

South Africa unveils space agency

Dec 09, 2010

South Africa unveiled its national space agency on Thursday, aiming to become a leader in earth observation technology across the continent in 10 years, the minister of science and technology said.

Recommended for you

The heart of an astronaut, five years on

1 hour ago

The heart of an astronaut is a much-studied thing. Scientists have analyzed its blood flow, rhythms, atrophy and, through journal studies, even matters of the heart. But for the first time, researchers are ...

Image: Kaleidoscopic view of Mars

6 hours ago

Astrophotographer Leo Aerts from Belgium took advantage of the recent opposition of Mars and captured the Red Planet both "coming and going" in this montage of images taken from October 2013 to June of 2014. ...

Wake up, robot

8 hours ago

Code, play and command your space droid – students across Europe can bring a squadron of minisatellites to life on the International Space Station as the ultimate space robot game.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

KingDWS
not rated yet Aug 17, 2011
I wonder if they are going to use the reconnaissance capability to find all those people who seemed to be continually lose millions of dollars there due to some calamity.;-]