The Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Ewa, has said that arrangements have been perfected for Nigeria’s second earth observation satellite to be launched into the orbit on Wednesday. He revealed this at a news briefing in Abuja on Friday and left Nigeria on Sunday for the launch of the satellites in Yasney, Russia.
The satellites had been scheduled for launch on July 7, but the exercise was postponed due to logistics and technical reasons.
Together with Russian satellite, an experimental satellite known as NigeriaSat-X, built by Nigerian engineers would also be put in the orbit almost simultaneously with the earth observation satellite, known as NigeriaSat-2, by Russian satellite launch service provider, Dnepr.
Ewa also disclosed that five other satellites would be launched aboard the same launch vehicle as the Nigerian satellites.
These are RASAT for Turkey, EDUSAT for Italy, ARSAT-5 & 6 for the United States of America and Sich-2 for Ukraine.
The inauguration will bring to four the number of satellites that the country has taken to the orbit since the first, an earth observation satellite known as NigeriaSat-1, was put in the orbit on September 27, 2003.
The second satellite put in the orbit was the Nigeria Communications Satellite known as NigComSat-1.
However, the communications satellite failed in the orbit on November 8, 2008 and is in the process of being replaced by the company that constructed it, the China Great Wall Industry Corporation, and is expected to be put in the orbit later in the year.
Although NigeriaSat-1 was constructed to last for five years, it has spent about eight years and will soon be de-orbited as NigeriaSat-2 takes its place.
NigeriaSat-2 is a high resolution satellite with 2.5-metre GSD in the panchromatic channel and it is an improvement on NigeriaSat-1, which had a resolution of 32m.
Nigeria became the third African country to enter the space age, after South Africa and Algeria, when Russia launched NigeriaSat-1 earth monitoring satellite in 2003.