Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nigeria launches two satellites into orbit to monitor natural disasters

Welcome to space, Nigeria! From the International Business Times: The "NigeriaSat-2" and "NigeriaSat-X" spacecraft were lofted into orbit aboard a Russian Dnepr rocket from a launch pad in the town of Yasny, southern Russia. Nigeria worked with UK engineers on the project and satellites, which are being monitored from two control stations in Guildford, UK, and Abuja in Nigeria.

Dr Seidu Mohammed, the Director-General of NASRDA, announced that the satellites would be launched in early July. Prof. Ita Ewa, the Minister of Science and Technology, said, "The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has received confirmation from the launcher in Russia that the two satellites are now set for launch on the already scheduled date, having made all preparations both human and logistics for a successful launch."

Engineers say the satellites will provide Nigeria with the ability to enhance food security through monthly crop monitoring, advance the country's technological capability. They add that "imaging satellites" could have a variety of applications, including the monitoring of disaster-prone areas.

Both satellites were built at Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) in Guildford, under contract with the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA)....

The Benue River in Nigeria shot by NASA, an image I hope to soon replace with Nigeria's own space imagery

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