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: SpaceX launches supplies to space station (Update)

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

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

4 hours ago

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

Apr 18, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

Apr 18, 2014

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

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.;-]

More news stories

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.