• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Nigeria to partner with SERA to send first citizen to space

Nigeria-EU initiative will advance tech development — Uche Nnaji

The Federal government of Nigeria in partnership with the Space Exploration and Research Alliance (SERA) has announced that it will send the first Nigerian to space soon.

This was revealed at a press conference by Mathew Adepoju, Director General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA). He noted that the move marks a significant milestone in Nigeria’s 25th space exploration journey and opens new opportunities for scientific research and technological advancement.

Adepoju said, “The Human Space Flight programme is one of the cardinal objectives of our National Space Policy. To support this, we established the Department of Physical and Life Sciences three years ago.”

He further highlighted the potential benefits of the program, noting, “This initiative will bring numerous spinoffs and opportunities for Nigerians.”

The announcement signifies a major moment in Nigeria’s space exploration efforts, showcasing the nation’s commitment to advancing its capabilities in space science and technology. This initiative is expected to foster new avenues for research and development, further positioning Nigeria as a key player in the global space community.

Uche Nnaji, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, reaffirmed the significance of human space flight as a core objective of Nigeria’s National Space Policy and Programme (NSPP).

He noted that the NSPP, approved in 2001, identified human space flight as one of its pillars, with a 25-year roadmap initiated in 2005 aiming for the first human space flight by 2018.

“We are about six years behind schedule, but the signing of the MoU signifies our commitment to achieving this goal,” Nnaji said.

Sam Hutchison, Co-founder of SERA, also spoke at the event, reiterating the inclusive nature of the program.

“The human space flight programme gives Nigerians the opportunity to choose who they want to send to space. Anyone aged 18 and above can apply. The process will be democratic, allowing the Nigerian people to select four potential astronaut candidates before a final selection,” he said.

Hutchison explained that the selection process would be managed by the SERA platform, aiming to open up access to ordinary Nigerians.

“You don’t have to be a scientist or an engineer. This program is about opening opportunities for all Nigerians,” he said, adding that Nigeria was chosen for its serious intent regarding future space exploration.