Nigeria’s National Agency for Space Research and Development (NASRDA) commissioned and unveiled six state-of-the-art projects completed by the agency at its headquarters in Abuja today.
Established on 5th of May 1999, the government-owned principal space agency is at the forefront of space science and policies in Nigeria. The Agency boasts of operating three earth observation satellites in space and collaborated with the Nigerian Communications Satellite LTD (NIGCOMSAT) and the Federal University of Technology Akure to launch two geosynchronous communication satellites and one education cubesat, respectively.
The projects commissioned today include the following:
National Space Museum
Space Incubation Centre
Institute of Space Science and Engineering (ISS&E)
Space Environment Laboratory
Currently located in Abuja, the Institute of Space Science & Engineering (ISSE) was established on June 2, 2015, in accordance with the National Space Research & Development Agency (NASRDA) Act 2010. It is a unique postgraduate Institute set to address the growing needs of space scientific knowledge and innovations in Nigeria and Africa continent at large.
The Institute comprises of the Department of Space Science and Department of Aerospace Engineering Systems, with programmes drawn from the specialized studies in Space Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics, Computerization, and Technology Innovations leading to the award of Master of Science (MSc.) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.
The programmes were strategically developed in response to the challenges faced by today’s scientific community that requires the ability to analyze and solve complex scientific and engineering design problems in space science and engineering. The institute involves interdisciplinary skills, expertise and approaches for proffering solutions to a better understanding of Earth-Sun systems and space technology for the purpose of improving socio-economic development and security.
The programmes provide students with training and skills in analysis, designs and monitoring of space systems. Human centred design and development studies are incorporated into every facet of learning at the Institute to emphasize the role of space science and technology in achieving the sustainable development goals in Africa.
The Institute commits to become a leading national and international centre of excellence in space research and development. At the core of its mission, the Institute will boost innovation in space and propel a rapid growth of the African space industry through human capacity building and research.
Some of the approved postgraduate programs at the Institute include:
MSc Space Physics
MSc Systems Engineering
MSc Aerospace Engineering
MSc Geoinformatics and GIS
PhD in Space Physics
PhD of Systems Engineering
PhD Aerospace Engineering
PhD Geoinformatics and GIS
Nigeria’s space programme recorded some success stories within its first decade of operation, having launched five satellites into orbit between 2003 to 2011. Three out of these five satellites (NigeriaSat-2, NigeriaSat-X and NigComSAT-1R) are still functional, reporting data from the outer space. NASRDA also boasts of training over 300 staff up to Bsc and about 50 with PhD in space science and technology related field in a press statement in 2016. There has been a significant collaboration between NASRDA and other government agencies in charge of security, communication technology, education and environment.
However, some experts suggest that a successful space sector will be dependent on a thriving space ecosystem comprising of newspace companies and government institutions. It appears NASRDA is set to grow a blooming space ecosystem in Nigeria by establishing the Space Incubation Centre and Institute of Space Science and Engineering (ISS&E).
The National Space Museum, Sports Complex and Planetarium Building will form the focal site for space science education and science tourism in Nigeria. The Space Environment Laboratory will enable space scientists to carry out researches using a facility that is based in Nigeria.
Written by Olayode Abdurasaq, Principal Admin officer, Media and Branding at the NASRDA Institute of Space Science and Engineering (ISS&E).