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Satnews Daily
October 13th, 2010

Nigeria... Pico Placement Planned (Satellite)

[SatNews] Business Day online is reporting that the Nigerian Federal Government, in its bid to avoid accidental loss of assets owned by the country in space, has instituted a mechanism to launch a locally built satellite that will monitor and download real time information about satellites.

This will be the first satellite to be launched in Nigeria before 2015. Known as a pico satellite, this will be one of the smallest satellites in the orbit for monitoring the country’s space assets. Spencer Onuh, director and chief executive, Centre for Space Science and Technology Development of the Ministry of Science and Technology, noted that the satellite will be built in Nigeria by Nigerians and that the chances are high it will be launched from Nigerian soil. Onuh noted that “the pico satellite can also form part of disaster management. If you consider the oil pipelines as your asset, you can monitor them, you can track vandalism and serious leakages will be detected. It is flying at an altitude of 700km above sea level.”

The satellite, according to Onuh, “is a five-year project plan and we hope that in the next four years we will be able to have it in space”, stressing that “everything was designed here in NARSDA and it will be launched from Nigerian soil. We have a propulsion unit in Epe. There are a number of engineers in Alabama, United States, training in rocketry — they have done one already that went up to 10,000km in Atlanta. This earned our engineers first prize of the America Society of Engineers. There are agencies that will be pleased to launch it for us because we are using their materials and we can say we have materials that are space qualified which are being used in space already. Onuh stated that Nigeria will blaze the trail in this technology on the continent as no African country has such in place. Some components of the craft are being sourced locally, while others are imported, he said.