Nigeria’s Microsat Satellite Passes Pre-Launch Test

Nigeria Microsat Passes Pre-Launch Test.

The replaced Nigerian satellite, NIGCOMSAT-1R, has undergone and passed a major performance test and activities are in top gear for its launch in 2011, an official has said.

Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, the managing director of NIGCOMSAT told a management and media dinner on Thursday in Abuja that the satellite had undergone vibration tests while a simulation of the outer space had been used to test its ability to survive the harshness of the outer space.

The project has now entered an advanced stage of Assembly and Integration Test (AIT) of the platform and payload components indicating that the project is very much on course for the delivery date of last quarter of 2011, the official told his audience.

“However, the minister of finance who also went on the visit to China, requested that the satellite be launched in the early part of the third quarter of 2011,” he said.

Ahmed-Rufai said his group also went to engage the company to provide a backup in the form of NIGCOMSAT 2 and NIGCOMSAT 3 in earnest to forestall the mistake of the past.

“You can be rest assured that once we launch the NICOMSAT-1R, we are going to immediately commence the building of NICOMSAT 2 and 3 in order to provide the necessary back-up,” he added.

“Our aim is a situation where most of the emerging applications become a reality in Nigeria in such a way and manner that it is affordable,” the managing director said.

Rising from the sixth Quarterly Management Review (QMR) meeting in Abuja at the weekend, officials of NIGCOMSAT and China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) disclosed that NigComSat-1R will be delivered on schedule.

He hinted that about four other countries were to launch their satellites ahead of Nigeria’s NIGCOMSAT-1R.

Ahmed-Rufai said extra precautionary and quality control measures were being taken to ensure that nothing was left to chance in delivering a robust high performance satellite.

“One of the features of NigComSat-1R is the newly introduced Asian beam meant for content trunking and service delivery to Asia, Europe and Africa,” he told his audience.

“The spacecraft will be operated on geo-stationary orbit of 42. 5*E; and will provide 14 Ku-band active channels, 4 C-band active channels, 8 Ka-band and 2 navigational channels,” the official added.

Ahmed-Rufai assured that with the launch of NigComSat-1R, Nigerians will be able to enjoy affordable broadband and multimedia services.

He also pointed out that despite the arrival of fibre on the shores of Nigeria; satellite was still needed to transmit from landing point in Lagos to other parts of the country.

He said NIGCOMSAT was already preparing a Direct-To-Home (DTH) platform in Nigeria and it would be ready before the launch of the satellite, thus paving way for local DTH companies to emerge.

The NICOMSAT’s foreman said the launch of the satellite would, among other things, be able to ensure securities by detecting activities of bombers.

“If you can guarantee the security of a nation, then you also guarantee investment; as you all know, some areas in Nigeria are not investment friendly because of the security issues,” he added.

The managing director also hinted that before the end of 2011, Nigeria was going to have a comprehensive suite of handset manufacturing.

“We have gone to partner with the biggest Chinese handset company to produce our handsets here in Nigeria and sell locally and internationally,” he said.

“Nigeria is de-industrialising and if we do not embrace production, then we would continue to consume,” he added.

Bottom line: Space exploration and scientific research is here to stay in Africa, especially since countries that are joining the space race like Nigeria, South Africa are moving along in their space capabilities.  Competition is good for both countries and the continent since it will usher in new investments in science and technology. Whether it is South Africa launching its own space agency or space cooperation between the African Union and European Union, the sky is the limit for growth and development on the continent.

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