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Nigeria signs agreement with Surrey Satellite for launch of NIGERIASAT-2 Earth observation satellite

Nigeria, 10 November 2006 – As part of moves to meet with world’s globalisation, the Federal Government of Nigeria has signed a contract agreement for the construction of the nation’s second Earth observation satellite with British firm Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL).

The new satellite which is named NigeriaSat-2 brings to three the number of satellite projects the nation has embarked on since 2001 when it began a space programme through the establishment of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).

When it goes into orbit the satellite will send down 32-metre high resolution imaging data for applications in mapping, water resources management, agricultural land use, population estimation, health hazard monitoring and disaster mitigation and management.

The Director-General of National Space Research and Development NASRDA, Prof. Robert Ajayi Boroffice, at the signing of the contract in Abuja, on November 6, said this is a bold step for Nigeria in the development of a National Space Plan, building upon the existing NIGERIASAT-1 Earth observation micro-satellite supplied by SSTL in 2003.

SSTL will install a new mission control centre in Nigeria to operate the satellite, which once launched will be able to deliver up to 400 images a day.

Prof Boroffice said 25 Nigerian engineers would undergo training on the technology in the UK, adding that during the two and a half years of training, the engineers would design and build a flight suitable training model of the NIGERIASAT-2, which would be called NIGERIASAT-X as a demonstration of Nigeria’s capacity and capability in building future satellites of its kind in Nigeria with little or no supervision.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Turner Isoun, signed on behalf of the Federal Government while the Chief Executive of SSTL, Prof. Martin Sweeting signed on behalf of the British firm. Speaking on the occasion the Minister said that it was imperative for the country to replace the spacecraft NIGERIASAT-1 with NIGERIASAT-2 to ensure data continuity for both local and commercial needs.

– About SSTL
The 200-strong company with a 45 million dollar turnover was formed back in 1985 by the University of Surrey to commercialise the results of its innovative small satellite engineering research. Through the eighties and early nineties, the UK space industry focused on developing larger, more powerful satellites to support the growth of technology.

SSTL was the first professional organisation to offer low-cost small satellites and its involvement in 23 satellite missions makes it the most experienced and successful small satellite company in the world. Visit www.SSTL.co.uk for further information on the company.