Yes, Nigeria has a space programme. Since 2003 the West African country has been operating its own satellites, three of which are currently collecting data from Earth orbit. But this week Nigeria’s space agency came under fire after UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported on British politicians questioning why Nigeria is spending money on satellites while accepting foreign aid for the large proportion of its citizens who live in poverty. In fact, the country’s satellites support food production in the region and disaster relief around the world – including helping with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the US. Nigeria’s National Space Research & Development Agency (NASRDA) launched its first orbiter, NigeriaSat-1, in 2003. The roughly $13 million cost was paid for by the Nigerian government, but it was built by Surrey Space Technology (SST) in the UK and launched from a Russian spaceport. The spacecraft was equipped with high-resolution optical and infrared cameras. “They are there to look at agriculture production, improving food security,” says Audrey Nice of SST. The satellite was also designed for environmental monitoring, such as tracking desertification and even locust swarms.
Nigeria’s Satellites were made by SSTL (not SST) as the article says. Which is the company I’m currently on placement with. I’ve done a fair bit of work on a satellite which is a design which takes a lot of Heritage from N-2.
It’s all very cool.