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As Nigeria Sat-1 Lifespan Expires

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Nigeria made its debut in satellite space technology on September 27, 2003 when it launched Sat-1 aboard a Russian rocket. The launch, at Plesetsk cosmodrome was watched live on television by millions of enthusiastic Nigerians and foreigners at 10:12 a.m. The satellite, which cost 13 million US Dollars, was expected to monitor water resources, soil erosion, deforestation and disasters. It would also be used to survey oil pipelines, oil theft and smuggling activities. In specific terms, the satellite is expected to boost the current expansion in communication, agriculture, security surveillance and Government hopes to earn 200 million US Dollars annually from subscribing African nations. The extent to which the expiring Sat-1 was able to live up to this bidding is a subject for scrutiny.

Satellite technology allows for the gathering of spatial dataset, which is comprehensive, reliable and real-time.

The Federal Executive Council at its meeting of May 2001 approved the National Space Policy and Programme. The vision of the policy is to make Nigeria build indigenous competence in developing, designing and building appropriate hardware and software in space technology as an essential tool for its socio-economic development and enhancement of the quality of life of its people. Nigeria signed the contract for the building of the NigeriaSat-1 with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) of the

United Kingdom, on the 7th of November 2000.

The 98kg Microsatellite, which was jointly designed and built by a team of engineers from SSTL and Nigeria, was launched into 686 km Sun synchronous orbit. It was designed and built for a Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) NigeriaSat-1 Configuration Launcher Selection.

The NigeriaSat-1 carries an imaging payload that provides satellites images of 32m resolution with a swath width of 600km using push broom scanning in three spectral bands (Red, Green and Near Infra Red) and 3-5days revisit and a daily revisit when in constellation with four (4) other satellites.

The spacecraft is equipped with two 0.5Gbyte Solid State Data Recorder (SSDR) for data storage during imaging and a main Receiver Frequency (RF) downlink at S band Frequencies with data rate of 8Mbps using store and forward communications. A 3.7m dish Mission Control Ground Station manned by Nigerians is installed in Abuja for the Telemetry, Telecontrol and Command of the spacecraft.

Image download from the spacecraft is processed from low-level data (bits and bytes) into full false colour images and made available to users in soft copy.

The contract for the building of the NigeriaSat-1 also included the training of 15 Nigerian Engineers/Scientist in a Know-How Technology Training (KHTT), fifteen months of intensive training in the design and building of all subsystems of the NigeriaSat-1 Spacecraft. The training would enable the engineers to design and build subsequent generations of satellites with very minimal supervision.

The DMC Consortium is a novel international partnership between, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Turkey, Algeria, China, Vietnam, and Thailand. Each of the DMC partners is to provide a spacecraft with almost the same configuration that will work in constellation.

The constellation would provide a global coverage and daily revisit with provision of real time data.

Nigeria Sat-1 lifespan expires in a few weeks and it is to this end that a team of the country’s scientist and engineers – 4 men and two women two weeks ago, jettisoned to London for training in preparation for the launch of Nigeria Sat-2 that will replace the expiring Sat-1.

Industry watchers that spoke to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek are worried about the benefits of Sat-1 that is precipitating the launch of Sat-2. While many are arguing that the preparation for the launch of Sat-2 is based on the merit of Sat-1, others are calling for holistic view of the benefit derived from Sat-1 and the extent to which it was able to meet its expectations. They cited several situations including that the satellite was expected to come to the rescue in monitoring of oil pipe line vandalization, oil theft and smuggling activities as well as deforestation and disasters. All these are still going on unabated for the five years the satellite had lasted.

More so, the absence of effective communications in time of disaster made Nigerian Communications Commission early this year to launch emergency communication centres in collaboration with disaster relief agencies and some state governments. This is one of the expectations of Nigeria Sat-1 which was not met.

If the country’s satellite they argued was effective in monitoring disaster, how could it have taken the country over five months to locate a missing plane that was eventually found by hunters in Cross River State close to the destination of the plane?

However, the country has signed a deal with British Satellite maker, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), the same company that built the first satellite, to build a second space satellite. A government official, Felix Ale, spokesman for Nigeria’s Space Research and Development Agency, said the deal between Nigeria and SSTL is expected to culminate in the launch of Nigeria SAT 2 by 2008, an earth observation satellite which has a seven-year lifespan.

SAT 2 could be deployed to aid agricultural and economic planning as well as help in disaster management, he said.

He stressed the importance of investment in space technology for effective planning to deal with developmental problems. According to a statement from the space agency, Nigeria hopes to expand its uses of space technology to include contributing to the management of its agricultural, water and human resources through use of satellite mapping when the second satellite is deployed. As the country prepares to make second journey to space for the launch of Nigeria Sat-2, it is the hope of Nigerians that efforts would be made to ensure that the country enjoys the benefit for which it is been launched, which is expected to translate to better planning and effective disaster management.


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Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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MTN Launches ‘Visitor SIM’, Designed for Guests Coming into the Country

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MTN Nigeria has announced the introduction of its new Visitor SIM specially designed for guests travelling into the country.

The Visitor SIM comes pre-loaded with an appealing package that includes local and international call and data bundles.

This package will enable people visiting from other countries to stay connected with their friends, family and business associates on MTN’s super-fast network.

MTN VisitorSIMs are easy for inbound international visitors to acquire, activate and use, in addition to which they offer far better value than any roaming tariff.

Not available from any other operator, the service is poised to deliver convenience and the best-in-class customer experience in line with MTN’s brand promise.

According to Adekunle Adebiyi, chief sales and distribution Officer, MTN Nigeria, “The new Visitor SIMs will ensure that before setting foot outside the airport, people visiting Nigeria can plug in, reconnect – to loved ones, associates, tools and information, and begin sharing their remarkable experiences, with no concern about roaming charges.”

 

MTN Visitor SIMs are available in the arrival halls of international airports and other ports of entry.

They are valid for 14 days, which can be extended up to 30 days via MTN’s self-service menus or USSD.


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Nigeria COVID-19 Response: UNICEF, IHS Nigeria Collaborate to Contribute Medical Supplies

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United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) received the delivery of 115,800 COVID-19 test kits to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. These supplies were funded by IHS Nigeria, the Nigerian subsidiary of IHS Towers.

Testing remains the mainstay of the response led by the Presidential Task Force and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the first step towards diagnosing the infection. Tests enable health officials to understand the COVID-19 status of an individual and link that person to care, support and treatment while contributing to the protection of families and communities.

“Testing remains a core strategy of Nigeria’s response to COVID-19. This is critical for understanding the burden of the disease on our population and targeting our response activities accordingly. The primary goal of the Nigerian Government is to control the spread of this disease.

“This donation from IHS Nigeria through UNICEF will contribute to the national stockpile of test kits managed by NCDC, and support efforts of the growing network of accredited laboratories across the country for the testing of COVID-19. We are grateful for the continued support from UNICEF, IHS Towers and other partners.” said Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, NCDC.

IHS Towers has been a strong and continuing partner of UNICEF. At the onset of the coronavirus in Nigeria in late February, IHS Nigeria provided funding to UNICEF to urgently procure essential supplies and equipment with which UNICEF supported the Government of Nigeria in its COVID-19 response.

“UNICEF is deeply appreciative of IHS Towers’ commitment to being a partner in UNICEF’s work in Nigeria. Once more, IHS has shown great generosity in supporting UNICEF’s ongoing efforts to work closely with the Government of Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19.

“I am very delighted to receive this huge contribution from IHS Towers, the benefit of which will reach many more children and their families“, said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Country Representative.

“We are proud to have played an important role in supporting the Government and our communities where we operate to provide crucial tools needed to fight this pandemic. We understand this virus is here to stay for the foreseeable future, but are confident that with our support, and that of our other private sector colleagues, we are helping to manage and mitigate the impact of the virus in our country” said Mohamad Darwish, Chief Executive Officer of IHS Nigeria.

This recent support of essential tests makes IHS Towers the biggest private sector donor for UNICEF Nigeria’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Coca-Cola, Red Cross Society Expand Fight Against COVID-19 In Nigeria

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In a bid to support the fight against the Coronavirus disease, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) along with its national society Nigerian Red Cross (NRC) has started the distribution of PPEs and risk communications efforts to the tune of N228 Million to support its COVID-19 interventions in Nigeria.

 

This is part of The Coca-Cola Foundation’s $2.5million grant to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the COVID-19 pandemic within the West and Central Africa sub-regions.

The grant, which leverages the long-standing partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), seeks to support national efforts in the fight against the Coronavirus disease through the provision of essential medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and risk communications to impacted communities, healthcare personnel on the frontlines and treatment centres across the country.

 

Speaking on the donation, Yebeltal Getachew, managing director, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, explained, “The Coca-Cola System (Coca-Cola Nigeria, Nigeria Bottling Company and Chi Limited) remains committed to providing support to the communities we serve during these challenging times.

 

“By providing healthcare workers with much-needed PPEs, we are confident that this will go a long way in ensuring their safety as they remain on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.

 

“Coca-Cola is proud to support the Red Cross as we deliver on our purpose of making a difference across the world”. 

 

Medical supplies being donated comprise N95 respirators, surgical masks, examination gloves, face shields, medical gowns, no-touch thermometers, disposable aprons, heavy-duty rubber gloves, rubber boots, basic masks, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizers.

 

Expressing his gratitude for the donation, Abubakar Kende, secretary-general for the Nigerian Red Cross Society explained, “We have identified the facilities in urgent need of these PPEs in consultation with NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health and will subsequently be distributed to these centres.

 

“This will ensure that treatment centres across the country are properly equipped with necessary PPEs as we continue to fight the disease”. 

IFRC seeks to directly impact the lives of over 1.4 million people in Nigeria and across other countries in West and Central Africa under this partnership. For over a century, The Coca-Cola Company and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have sustained a rewarding partnership that has seen the rehabilitation and preservation of human lives across the world through the delivery of humanitarian aid and emergency response to communities affected by disasters.

 

 

 


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