Domesticating Satellite Tech Will Save Nigeria Billions In Forex, Says Expert
Domesticating satellite technology will save Nigeria billions of dollars in foreign exchange, some experts have said. The experts who spoke yesterday at the opening ceremony of Centre for Satellite Technology Development (CSTD’s) week and 9th Annual Space Conference and Exhibition in Abuja also said Nigeria should harness the benefit of launching satellites from the equatorial orbit which is shorter to space and saves cost.
The Director, CSTD, Dr Spencer Onuh, said during the programme with the theme, “Exploration of Equatorial Orbit for Space Optimisation’’ that the country’s location on the continent gave it advantage of being close to the equatorial orbit.
He said the positioning of Nigeria and other African countries give them an edge over other countries who could be located across the polar orbit.
“Equatorial orbit is an orbit roughly in line with the equator of the being planet orbited while polar orbit is one in which a satellite passes above or nearly above poles of the body being orbited on each revolution’’, he said. According to Onuh, Nigeria is lacking in the area of infrastructure for developing space science technology but has human capacity to advance the sector.
But he suggested private-public partnership, space entrepreneurs as means to building the infrastructure needed to develop space science technology and harness its benefits. “Private partnership can be Nigeria having international collaborations that should be done in our interest, on our terms. “We have the capacity to challenge European space industry, our challenge is the infrastructure, we need to fix our ground station, our Assembly, Integration and Testing lab.
“Private-public-partnership can be encouraged to develop space science technology because satellite business is not just about government,” Onuh said. Similarly, Director, Centre for Atmospheric Research, Ayigba, Kogi State, Prof Babatunde Rabiu, said Near Equatorial Orbit (NEqO) satellite of countries have the potential to provide immediate disaster relief information and repetitive monitoring from multi-mission satellites. “NEqO satellites have possible programming and selection of areas to be observed with acceptable cloud cover before and during satellite data acquisition,’’ he said.
He noted that NEqO country satellites have less market potential for data coverage because it is limited to targeted zone in equitorial zone. “I observed that most of the nations in the equatorial belt are actually underdeveloped and considered as nations with poor management of resources,” he said. He called for urgent review of the space agency’s present budget and procurement laws to favour space science and technology among other recommendations.
Also, Dr Matthew Adepoju, President, Geo-information Society of Nigeria (GSN) said African countries lagged behind in the first, second and third industrial revolution. Adepoju noted that the continent must not continue to take the back stage in the fourth industrial revolution.