Abuja, Nigeria, 12 May 2006 – Nigeria on May 10 announced a 25-year plan to venture into space technology by manufacturing and launching locally its own satellite. “The 25-year plan has the objective that we should be able to produce a Nigerian astronaut by 2015, launch a satellite manufactured in Nigeria by between 2018 and 2030,” Science and Technology Minister Turner Isoun told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.
Isoun said the federal Cabinet had already set up a seven-member ministerial committee to look into the details of the project, including its cost. The committee will co-opt Nigerian local experts and those abroad as well as entering into strategic partnership with other countries, he said. Nigeria, he said, had started training engineers, scientists and technicians in satellite technology. Nigeria, which went into partnership with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited of Britain to launch in 2003 a low orbit remote sensing satellite, is due to launch a communication satellite by the first quarter of next year in partnership with China’s Great Wall Industries.