The Chief Executive Officer,
Mandate of CSTD The mandate given to us is to indigenously design, and build satellite pay loads. These pay loads can be for communication satellite, it can be for earth observation, it can be for navigation or whatever pay loads you want to design and build. However, people expect us to be at the downstream, but we are at the upstream where we design and build. The applications are different. There are centres responsible for the application areas, but that is not to say that we don't do things that will be of immediate benefits to the man on the street, farmer or even the taxi driver. Developing applications can be of immense use to all these people. For instance, the Nigerian satellites were involved in the missing Malaysian airplane that disappeared from space recently, and like any other satellite, we couldn't pick up any assistance as part of the disaster management constellation. Usually, specific areas are defined for possible location that can be found and so you have to programme the satellites to capture images for specific sites and that is what normally happens.
CSTD Week This year's week is about harnessing our gain of bringing the socioeconomic benefits of space technology to Nigerians. It is also to provide a platform for the exchange of knowledge, for discussion for collaboration. CSTD is a unit under the
Using satellites to fight security challenges For security challenges, satellites are very useful and are versatile tools that can be used and our satellites are no exception. We can capture the images of this country 100 percent on NigeriaSat-X. This satellite that was designed by our engineers and space qualified was launched along with
Locating the Abducted Girls in Sambisa Forest Before now, we have provided the images of the Sambisa forest in the North-eastern part of the country to the military. We have the images of the Sambisa forest, even before we were called upon by the military, when we didn't envisage that there was going to be security challenges. We have the images of the Sambisa forest. That they have not been able to access the forest is not the problem of the satellite centre. We deliver images of all kinds from our satellite; we also train personnel to use them. To date we have been supporting the military and other agencies. Also when our military were in
And when there was crash in one of air force helicopters, it was our satellites that actually gave them the appropriate image of the land profile of the area where the crash occurred that aided the location of the recovery. We have been working with them, as you know the space agency is not a military agency, we are into research and development. We do our job, if it is useful to you, you come and make request for that information and if there areas that we need to help, we help. We also help in training and providing capacities for the various agencies on the applications of these pay loads. NASRDA has trained over 200 personnel from the various agencies so that they can be able to make use of these data. For instance, those from the ministry of environmental or Police are being trained on different things. NASDRA has done that effectively. When you talk of security risk or looking for people in a particular place, the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) may be more appropriate and cheaper for us. But issues like Real Time Monitoring (RTM), a UAV is more appropriate. Images are captured from
Challenges facing the Satellite Centre Our challenges, fortunately is not even the human capital. We have the human capacity. The human capital that we need to design any satellite is not lacking in the country. We have the engineers and scientists have been trained specifically to design and build any type of satellites. These engineers were trained in
They are back to
So when they see this, they become depressed. However, we are not funded like
Setting up Assembly Integration and Testing (AIT) Centres I would know it off hand, but it has a due process. It has been approved by the
However, we have some challenges with optical satellite and on our road map, the next phase should have been Synthetic Aperture Radar Satellite (SARS), and we are ready to go into designing and manufacturing it here and to be space qualify.
Assistance to Universities and Research Institutions What we do is to assist universities. The mandate of the space agency currently does not include the establishment of degree awarding institutions. What we are presently doing is to go into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with some universities to help them set up aerospace engineering, which is directly related to satellite. That is where most satellites engineers come.
Input from the
Funding Hiccups When you give somebody a mandate you fund that mandate. Now we have been told to develop a Nigerian satellite by 2018, that is a mandate, we expect an intervention to achieve that. OK, say in the next five years, we would need another communication satellite, what do we need to do this, and they would ask us what do we need to achieve this, we would let them know. In
The government has given them another target that in the next seven years they need a high resolution earth resolution satellite, they are now working on it and as at two years ago, they showed me a modem which is in their AIT. They have not used anything that is space qualified, it is a cheap one. It can do whatever any satellite in space can do, but you cannot send it to space because the material that are used are not space-qualified, but they know what to do to be space qualified. We only have one communication satellite, God forbid, if anything happened to that one today, we are troubled.
There is also a need for back-up. We have made a case that there is a need for a back-up, all you need is to transfer the data on to the one that is a back-up. But it has not gone well with the government obviously and understandably, the meagre resources are being spread thinly. We know we need another communication satellite.
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