FG agrees deal for new $250 million satellite

By Post Nigeria June 27, 2015 12:21

FG agrees deal for new $250 million satellite

The Federal Government has signed a $250 million joint venture partnership agreement with a United Kingdom-based company, Menasat Gulf Group Plc., to provide Synthetic-Aperture Radar, SAR, satellites in Nigeria.

SAR is a radar technology which is used to create images of an object, such as a landscapes and these images can be 2D or 3D representations of the object.

SAR uses the motion of the SAR antenna over a target region to provide finer spatial resolution than is possible with conventional beam-scanning radars.

SAR satellite systems currently in operation in the world include the European Space Agency’s, ESA, European Remote Sensing Satellite 1, ERS-1, launched July 1991, and the Japanese Earth Resources satellite, JERS-1, launched February 1992.

The SAR satellite technology when operational will be the first in Nigeria and it will be capable to generate images which will benefit, particularly, the oil and gas operators, farmers, ocean monitoring, tracking of oil pipelines and also assist the military on intelligence gathering.

Dr. Seidu Mohammed, the Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency, NSRDA, who made this known while signing the contract said the SAR technology was necessary for Nigeria because of the challenges the agency has encountered in acquiring images in, mostly, the southern part of the country.

“We have always had this constraint that even though we are the national repository for satellite images, we are not able to provide completely all the required images in this country.

“In the light of that, we have specially taken this opportunity to satisfy the Nigerian market,” he said.

Speaking further, he said Nigeria will contribute its own expertise to the technology as well as providing a suitable place for the firm that will set up a ground-saving station and equipment to process and make the images available for Nigerians.

According to some analysts the use of satellite technology by Nigeria could help us solve our common problems such as desertification, flooding, erosion and food insecurity.

Space based technology such as earth observation satellite, communication satellite; meteorological satellite and global navigation satellite system play great roles in early warning, disaster monitoring, assessment and management.

NigeriaSat-2 which was carried into orbit by Russian rocket Dnepr was used to get images covering the affected states during the 2012 flood incidence.

Analysts noted that if Nigeria increases the number of satellites it can collect data about natural disaster, predict it and make efforts to minimize its negative effect.