The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has said that Nigeria could be earning $400 million annually by becoming a satellite launch destination for other countries.
The Director-General of NASRDA, Dr Halilu Shaba, who stated this in an interview with the media said this is achievable if the country develops its Assembly, Integration and Testing Lab (AITL).
According to him, the AITL project is captured in Nigeria’s 25-year Space Policy Roadmap.
He added that the implementation of the Roadmap, which includes launching satellites into orbit from Nigerian soil, is crucial to the development of Space Science and Technology in the country.
Search for investors
While noting that developing the AITL is a big project that requires huge resources which the Agency’s annual budgetary allocation could barely handle, Shaba said NASRDA has been engaging in advocacies to local investors and other countries to see how partnerships could float the project because the government might not have the sole capacity.
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- “We are thinking out of the box because it can bring money and we are letting people know that this can bring money. The government can partner with the public on that because for you to launch any satellite, the initial deposit you give for the launch of the satellite minus the kilometres you cover is 20 million Dollars to launch one satellite,” he added.
The location advantage
Pointing at the factors that make Nigeria one of the best locations for Satellite launch, the NASRDA DG said:
- “We are at the equator and getting windows for launch are higher and then the distance to the orbit is shorter. If we can be a launching destination, it means that if we are launching 20 satellites from Nigeria every year, that gives you about 400 million Dollars,’’ he said.
The NASRDA boss further said the Agency was talking to other countries due to their interest. He added that offers were being made to some other countries that would want Nigeria to develop the AITL and grant them access over a period.
- “They can come and we develop this together, we share the profit, they can launch and as well have a launch pad. Whatever option we are looking at, it has to be to the benefit of Nigeria,’’ he said.
Shaba disclosed that the agency was also developing its Rocketry and Propulsion experience, although its profits were coming in trickles.
He said that the agency was exploring to engage every platform to educate Nigerians about Space Science and Technology.
Avenues being explored included expanding the scope of their social media engagements targeted at the youths and the banks for the development of visibility tools.
According to him, the digital economy is incomplete without satellite and this is why the Agency wanted the youths to identify with the technology.