By Emmanuel Elebeke
Nigeria dreams to build own satellite by 2018, but that dream may not be realised if militating factors pointed out by the Director and Chief Executive of Centre for satellite Technology Development, CSTD, Dr. Spencer Onuh, are not addressed.
Onuh has expressed fears that Nigeria’s dream of launching her first locally designed and fabricated satellite may be dashed, if urgent action is not taken by the Federal Government to put up proposed Assembly, Integration and Test centre, AIT.
In an exclusive interview with Hi-Tech in Abuja, Dr . Onuh said that although the centre is working hard to meet up with the deadline, he was not totally sure that everything would be ready.
According to him the AIT is an indispensible factor needed to be established to provide Nigerian engineers the platform to perform both practical and testing experiments before coming out with the proposed satellite.
He described AIT as “a must have if we must actualize this dream of launching a wholly made in Nigeria satellite by 2018. One of the innovative approaches we are using is gradual composition of sub-systems. We are working and believing hopefully that we can still meet up. We are positive about it but I may not promise we are fully ready until I have AIT facility on ground.”
The CSTD is one of the six activity centres of the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency, NASRDA.
The agency is under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and is tasked with the implementation of the Nation’s Space Policy Programs..
According to Onuh, Satellite technology remains the driving force behind most developed and developing economies. It provides security, telecommunications, technology advancements, protects the environment and a host of daily services that Nigeria can no longer afford to undermine their needs in the ongoing transformation agenda.
He boasted that the centre has a growing work force of highly motivated engineers and support staff from various scientific and engineering backgrounds globally tested but lack the needed equipments and facility centre to showcase their stuff and compete globally.
He pointed out that space has become a crucial tool in tackling the global challenges various countries are facing and will continue to face in years to come.
He underscored the importance of developing indigenous technology and warned that Nigeria will continue to expose its privacy to foreigners until it learns to use locally made technologies.
“We will continue to depend on other manufacturers outside our country to do it for us, telling them what we want. In doing this, there is no way you can keep anything secret from them” he added.