The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) says it has developed mini designs of sub-systems to enable it to launch made in Nigeria satellite by 2018.
Dr Spencer Onuh, the Director, Centre for Satellite Technology Development (CSTD) of the agency, disclosed this to our correspondent in Abuja.
Onuh said that the development of the mini designs was part of the processes the agency embarked on between 2016 and 2017 to achieve the objective.
He said that these processes were expected to lead the manufacturing and launching of the satellite by 2018.
A satellite is an artificial body placed in orbit round the earth or another planet in order to collect information and easy access for communication.
“When the roadmap for launching a satellite was designed, there were milestones for some specific periods and 2016 was a preparatory period for the milestones to be put in place for 2018.
“To achieve that, what we have done is to build more capacities in the area of design and manufacturing.
“We have done some mini designs of some sub-system as well to enable us test some of those designs in our next satellites.
“Some of these mini designs include the reaction wheel assembly, magnetic rod assembly and the antenna system for ground segment.
“In 2018, we are looking into the design and manufacturing of our satellite sub-system components in readiness to manufacture made in Nigeria satellite,” he said.
The director said that the agency had increased its collaborations with some tertiary institutions in the country to ensure the actualisation of the launch of its satellite.
The director observed that tertiary institutions were the hub of knowledge to achieve technological development.
“To make sure our 2018 plan is achieved, we also increased our collaborations in the number of universities that will enable us design, manufacture, and launch because we know that universities remain the pool of knowledge.
“Working with them will give us the needed advantage and benefits which we are looking for,” Onuh said.
He said that the agency in collaboration with the Federal University Akure, Ondo State had designed and manufactured a small satellite in the size of a key in preparation for 2018 with an international partner.
He said that the agency was also working in collaboration with the Landmark University Omu-aran, Kwara State and the University of Abuja on satellite development.
Onuh added however that space technology had a great capacity to contribute to the growth of the nation’s economy if properly harnessed.
It should also be noted that NASRDA since inception in 2001 had launched five satellites.
The first satellite was launched in 2003 and built by a UK-saed satellite technology company, Surrey Space Technology Ltd. and sponsored by Nigerian government at the cost of 30 million dollars.
NigComSat-1, the second Nigerian satellite was ordered and built in China in 2004; it was Africa’s first communication satellite, launched on May 13, 2007.
NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X, which were the third and fourth built by Surrey Space Technology Ltd., were launched on Aug. 17, 2011.
The fifth, NigComSat-1R was launched by China on Dec. 19, 2011.