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Nigeria to launch second Earth observation satellite

Nigeria, 22 September 2006: Nigeria has started work on the design and construction of its second Earth observation satellite billed for launch in 2008, Director General of the National Space Research and Development Agency Robert Boroffice said on September 21. He said the satellite known as NigeriaSat-2 would be an improvement on NigeriaSat-1, which is a medium resolution Earth observation satellite.

He said his agency was considering suitable payloads for the NigeriaSat-2 spacecraft, adding that a 2.5m panchromatic camera, 5m multispectral camera in five bands and a 32m multispectral camera in three channels would be used to ensure high resolution.

“The satellite will be built with the active participation of many of Nigerian engineers,” he said, adding that Nigeria had a pool of highly trained engineers to undertake the design, construction and launch of the satellite with little assistance from foreign experts.

When launched in 2008 NigeriaSat-2 would provide a wide range of applications in the areas of infrastructure, water resources management, agricultural land use, population estimation, health hazard monitoring and disaster mitigation and management.

NigeriaSat-1, which was launched in 2003 from Plesetsk, Russia, into 686km polar orbit has been capturing high quality images using six cameras on board the Satellite. Apart from demonstrating good applications and commercial value, NigeriaSat-1 has been configured in Disaster Monitoring Constellation with other satellites from Algeria, China, Turkey and Britain.

Boroffice said NigeriaSat-1 had given the country an added advantage of global coverage and daily revisit with provision of real time data. “Imageries from NigeriaSat-1 have been used to solve many global problems such as refugee management in Darfur region of Sudan, flood and tsunami disaster management in New Orleans,” he added.