Nigeria's satellite launch plans delayed due to insufficient funds 

March 13, 2024
2 min read
  • Nigeria's national space agency, the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), will not proceed with its plans to launch a satellite from Nigeria in 2025.
  • The agency's Director-General, Dr Halilu Shaba, revealed the news during the NASRDA Day presentation at the 8th Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Expo.
  • According to the DG, the agency does not have sufficient funds to launch a satellite. However, he said that it is building the needed capacity.

Furthermore, the DG stated that the agency does not have the resources to launch an astronaut into space because it is "very expensive."

He added that it will take five years to plan and secure a launch slot for an astronaut. “We cannot advise the government to train an astronaut now when we don’t have the slot; the person may probably get older and not fit for space by the time we get a slot.”

Part of its 25-year plan was to send a Nigerian astronaut into space and launch an indigenous satellite from Nigeria by 2025.

In October 2023, the Director General projected that Nigeria’s space industry should be valued at up to $1 billion, and in contributing to the national economy, Nigeria could generate $20 million from launching one satellite if it develops its assembly, integration and testing laboratory (AITL).

Despite limited resources and uncertainty about completion by 2027, the Director-General emphasised that the agency boasts a capable team. He also pointed out that designing a significant satellite isn't a quick process but assured that the agency already has a blueprint for the desired satellite.

“The agency already has the design of a desired satellite, and with the improvement of budgetary allocations, it can build and launch a satellite from Nigeria shortly.”

Moreover, the DG mentioned that NigeriaSat-2 in orbit is still functioning. NigeriaSat-2 is an Earth observation satellite launched in 2011 that provides the NASRDA and the Disaster Monitoring Constellation with very high-resolution imaging capability. The DG said the satellite is still providing imagery for the country, Africa and across the globe.

He said that the agency recently estimated the population of the Abuja Municipal Area Council using the NigeriaSat-2 to provide an idea of the population. Additionally, the agency is partnering with China to monitor earth tremors across Nigeria and Africa to safeguard other African countries.

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