The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) is the national space agency of Nigeria. It is a part of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and it is overseen by the National Council on Space Science Technology. The Agency based in the Nigerian capital Abuja has a ground receiving station. Nigeria has cooperation in space technology with the United Kingdom, China, Ukraine and Russia.
NASRDA was established on 1 August 2001 after preparation period since in 1998 by Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo and the Nigerian government with a primary objective of establishing a "fundamental policy for the development of space science and technology" with an initial budget of $93 million.
In May 2006, the new extended national space program was adopted.
The initial scope of the Nigerian Space Programme (NSP) to be implemented by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) should include:
The study of basic space science in order to lay the foundation for deriving maximum benefits from the nation’s participation in the space enterprise; For the attainment of space capabilities, Nigeria’s efforts should focus on research and rigorous education, engineering development, design and manufacture, particularly in the areas of instrumentation, rocketry and small satellites as well as in satellite data acquisition, processing, analysis and management of related software; The establishment of a national earth observation station for remote sensing and satellite meteorology data acquisition. Such an infrastructure will enhance the indigenous ability to adopt, modify and create new techniques for national resources inventories, monitoring, evaluation and management; The provision of efficient, reliable and adequate telecommunications services in Nigeria in order to enhance the growth of the industrial, commercial and administrative sectors of the economy. The focus areas of the National Space Programme (NSP) include:
Basic Space Science and Technology to provide the understanding of how the universe works and what its impact is on the world. This will enable us to lay the foundation for deriving maximum benefits from the nation’s participation in the space enterprise.
Remote Sensing to help Nigerians understand and manage our environment and natural resources using space-acquired information. This technology will enable us to better understand our land, air and water resources and their associated problems.
Satellite Meteorology to study atmospheric and weather sciences using satellite data to facilitate the effective management of our environment.
Communication and Information Technology to provide efficient and reliable telecommunications services for Nigeria in order to enhance the growth of the industrial, commercial and administrative sectors of the economy.
Defence and Security. The Federal Government shall develop a necessary Space Science Technology (SST) programme that will address the national needs of Nigeria. For this purpose the government shall establish a Defence Space Command in the Ministry of Defence. The Command shall comprise representatives of the defence, intelligence, security and law enforcement services and report through the Ministry of Defence to the National Space Council.
Five satellites have been launched by the Nigerian government into outer space. Early plans to launch a national satellite in 1976 were not executed. The NigeriaSat-1 was the first Nigerian satellite and built by a United Kingdom-based satellite technology company, Surrey Space Technology Limited (SSTL ltd) under the Nigerian government sponsorship for $30 million. The satellite was launched by Kosmos-3M rocket from Russian Plesetsk spaceport on 27 September 2003. Nigeriasat-1 was part of the world-wide Disaster Monitoring Constellation System. The primary objectives of the Nigeriasat-1 were: to give early warning signals of environmental disaster; to help detect and control desertification in the northern part of Nigeria; to assist in demographic planning; to establish the relationship between vectors and the environment that breeds malaria and to give early warning signals on future outbreaks of meningitis using remote sensing technology; to provide the technology needed to bring education to all parts of the country through distant learning; and to aid in conflict resolution and border disputes by mapping out state and International borders.
NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X, Nigeria's third and fourth satellites, were built as a high-resolution earth satellite by SSTL for DMC system also. It has 2.5-metre resolution panchromatic (very high resolution), 5-metre multispectral (high resolution, NIR red, green and red bands), and 32-metre multispectral (medium resolution, NIR red, green and red bands) antennas. The NigeriaSat-2/X spacecraft was built at a cost of over £35 million. This satellite was launched into orbit by Ukrainian Dnepr rocket from a Yasny military base in Russia on 17 August 2011.
NigComSat-1, a Nigerian satellite ordered and built in China in 2004, was Nigeria's second satellite and Africa's first communication satellite. It was launched on 13 May 2007, aboard a Chinese Long March 3B carrier rocket, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China. The spacecraft was operated by NigComSat and the Nigerian Space Agency, NASRDA. On 11 November 2008, NigComSat-1 failed in orbit after running out of power due to an anomaly in its solar array. It was based on the Chinese DFH-4 satellite bus, and carries a variety of transponders: 4 C band; 14 Ku band; 8 Ka band; and 2 L band. It was designed to provide coverage to many parts of Africa, and the Ka band transponders would also cover Italy.
On 10 November 2008 (0900 GMT), the satellite was reportedly switched off for analysis and to avoid a possible collision with other satellites. According to Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, it was put into "emergency mode operation in order to effect mitigation and repairs". The satellite eventually failed after losing power on 11 November 2008.
On 24 March 2009, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, NigComSat Ltd. and CGWIC signed a further contract for the in-orbit delivery of the NigComSat-1R satellite. NigComSat-1R was also a DFH-4 satellite, and is expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2011 as a replacement for the failed NigComSat-1.
On 19 December 2011, a new Nigerian communications satellite was launched into orbit by China in Xichang.The satellite according to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan which was paid for by the insurance policy on NigComSat-1 which de-orbited in 2009, would have a positive impact on national development in various sectors such as communications, internet services, health, agriculture, environmental protection and national security.
NigComSat-2 and NigComSat-3 - more communications satellites to extend Nigerian Communication Satellite ltd capacity, planning to launch in 2012 and 2013.
NigeriaSAT-1 - dual-aimed military/civil Earth monitoring satellite with synthetic aperture radar, planning to launch in 2015.
Robert Ajayi Boroffice disclosed also that Nigeria will take advantage of its geographic location to launch into near-equatorial orbit by indigenous developed space launcher from a national spaceport to be built near 2025-2028 with possible help from the Ukraine.
A Moon planetary probe is planned for launch in 2030.
The first Nigerian astronaut is scheduled to launch abroad a foreign spacecraft sometime between 2015 and 2020. Negotiations with Russia were held in the 2000s for astronaut transportation. Moreover, after Nigerian space partner China launched the Shenzhou rocket in 2011, China has been planning to take on foreign astronauts. China is seen as a more likely country of choice for flying a Nigerian astronaut to space than Russia given current relations.