Nigeria: Engineers Build Own Satellite

Hamisu Muhammad

A first satellite called NX2 designed and manufactured solely by Nigerian engineers will be launched side by side with NIGERIASAT-2 in the last quarter of 2009, Nigerian minister of science and technology has said. Speaking after a visit to Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), United Kingdom, Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs. Grace Ekpiwhre said this is a good example of complete technology transfer.

The Minister’s visit was to afford her on the spot assessment on the progress so far made towards the realisation of the 2009 launch date of NIGERSAT-2 and NX2 by Mr President at a yet-to-be determined launch site.

IT World learnt that the Nigeriasat-2, Nigeria’s earth observation satellite, when completed will be one of the best Earth observations satellites in orbit and a veritable source of national pride.

Mrs. Ekpiwhre, who met with Nigerian Engineers undergoing a Know-How-Technical-Training (KHTT) at surrey charged them to be good Ambassadors of Nigeria and also urged them to work hard as they represent the first generation of Nigeria Space engineers. She also assured them that the training programme would be sustained without break by the Federal Government.

A statement from the Chief Information Officer, of the ministry, Abdulganiyu Aminu said so far, 10 Nigerian engineers are undergoing academic and on the job training at surrey. A total of 25 Nigerian Engineers will be trained on Space Technology in surrey.

The advanced training programme will provide baseline skills to support future indigenous development of spacecrafts and the training is expected to produce project leaders, Technical Leaders, Spacecraft design engineers, manufacture quality inspectors and trained personnel in assembly, integration and testing of spacecrafts.

The Nigerian KHTT engineers are undergoing advanced training in space technology and acquiring the needed skills to take delivery of the NIGERIASAT-2 spacecraft, manage it and build out own indigenous spacecraft.

The challenge to the Nigerian engineers undergoing the advanced training at surrey is to acquire the needed skills to build spacecrafts on their own.

The entourage of the Minister included D-G National Space Research and Development Agency, (NARSDA), Prof. R. A. Boroffice, Director of Science and Technology Promotion, Alhaji Tukur Modibbo, the Minister’s Special Assistant, Mr. Isaac Otuorimuo, and the Project Manager of NIGERIASAT-2, Mr. Francis Chizea.

When completed, NIGERIASAT-2 will provide valuable geographically referenced high resolution satellite imaging for applications in mapping, water resources, management, agricultural land use, population estimation, environmental hazard monitoring in the Niger Delta, desertification issues in the northern state and disaster mitigation and management.



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