Nigeria revises space plan after missing targets

3 years ago | 12

Nigeria has revised its 30-year space development programme, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has said. Onu stated this at a reception for the Canadian Governor-General, Julie Payette, at the National Space Research Development Agency in Abuja on Monday. Answering questions from journalists, Onu said that a new plan for the exploration of space technology would soon be made public. Our correspondent reports that some targets in the country’s original space programme have either been missed or appear unrealisable now. Some of the targets include training of Nigerian astronauts by the year 2015; the development and building of a Nigerian made satellite by the year 2018; and putting an indigenous astronaut in the moon by the year 2025. Others are development of spinoff space industry such as electronics and software by the year 2026; large-scale commercialisation of space technology and knowhow by the year 2028; and the inauguration of Nigerian satellite from the country’s launch pad by the year 2030. The space industry programme has been hampered by internal bickering, poor leadership, lack of adequate funding, lack of political will and space disaster. However, Onu said that the space programme was on course, while a revised programme and targets would be released in due course. At the ceremony, Payette, who had made two trips to the space before being appointed as the Governor-General of Canada, relived her trips and encouraged about 1,000 school children were present to receive her to consider careers in science, space technology and mathematics. “Perhaps, one day, one of you will be able to travel to another planet. We are in this together. Science has discovered how much ignorant we are,” she said. Answering questions from a 10-year old pupil, Payette said at 10, she had watched a video on space trip when she lived in Montreal. Payette said she was motivated by the video and imagined that one day, she would make it to the space even though the odds were against her. “I spoke only French then. The language of space was English. There was no Canadian astronaut then. There were only other nationals in space,” she added. – Punch – Oct. 30, 2018 @ 9:05 GMT |

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