A lot of us have never heard of the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Nigeria’s space program.
In an interview with CNN, the director general of NASRDA, S. O. Mohammed, discusses his plans, and why the space program is important.
“We have always said… the Nigerian space program is not going to be an ego trip,” he begins.
“We are not part of the race for the moon, we’re not part the race for Mars. What we need to look at is using the space program to look at how we can create typical Nigerian solutions to most of our problems.”
Mohammed wants a locally designed and built satellite by 2018, the launch of a satellite from the Nigerian territory by 2030, and, after that, Mohammed wants Nigeria to put a man on the moon.
Of course, there are several questions plaguing his plans. What’s the point of a satellite program in a country with 70% of its population living below the poverty line? What’s the point of having a man on the moon more than 60 years after the U.S did it?
But Mohammed lists the benefits of Nigeria’s existing 3 satellite programs: the documentation of the regional climate change patterns, updating of the country’s maps, and tracking the movements of terrorist group Boko Haram.
Next on Mohammed’s list is the launching of a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), a satellite capable of penetrating cloud coverage.
This financial year, NASRDA has been granted $20 million, but needs $65 million more to launch its next satellite.
The money will be put to good use, Mohammed says.
Read the full interview HERE.
Photo Credit: NASRDA