After an Extended Hiatus Nigeria has resumed its controversial Rocket Testing at the Centre for Space Transport and Propulsion (CSTP)

Nigerian Scientists and engineers have, for the past two years, been building and launching experimental rockets – without foreign assistance.

There are six centres under National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), the most notable being the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) Centre for Space Transport and Propulsion (CSTP), located in Epe, Lagos.

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The Centre for Space Transport and Propulsion (CSTP), Epe

The CSTP is dedicated to researching and developing space rockets, for military and civilian purposes with stated goal of giving Nigeria the ability to independent launch payload into orbit from Nigerian soil.

Internationally, rocketry is a sensitive subject, because it encompasses “dual use technology”, instruments that can be used, either for peaceful or military purposes. Nigeria’s attempt to aquire ballistic missile know-how in a technology sharing agreement with North Korea ended with threats of sanctions by the West. Nigeria must, therefore, tread softly, to avoid sending the wrong signals about our intentions, which are entirely peaceful.

To this end the military has been pushing for R&D funding for research into rocketry and space using locally based materials and components, including its propulsion.

To this end the Nigerian Army acquired a vast stretch of land from the Lagos State University for the stated purpose of rocket research and field testing. Advances made in this endeavour prompted NASRDA to site each of its Space Research Centres within a university environment to enable Research and Development.

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NASRDA complex during construction.
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NASRDA complex after completion.

These research facilities are heavily guarded and taking pictures is strictly forbidden. These complexes may well be one of the most tightly guarded properties in Nigeria. There is a deliberate attempt by NASRDA to control its exposure, and they are doing a darn good job on this. Most Nigeria’s May have never heard of a secrete missile development program, much less carrying out field testing.

It is here, in this highly secured complexes that a variety of brilliant engineers work together to build rockets and other space shuttles. From electrical and electronics engineers to mechanical engineers, chemical engineers to professionals in other fields that are relevant to rocket research.

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View from a drone of Nigeria’s top secrete research facility or possibly the sattelite control station in Abuja.

All the materials used to build these rockets are locally sourced, including the chemicals used to fuel them. The rockets built are tested in an open space on the property but far away from human activities.

The last launch achieved about 5 km of altitude. They keep testing until we get it right. We started from less than 1 km. It’s just about the altitude and one day hitting orbit.

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Engineers at the research facility say that based on their progress, the agency should be able to launch a rocket into space from Nigerian soil before 2030.

Why 2030?

The story of Nigeria’s space programme dates back to 1976 but it was not until 1999 that the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) was established.

The agency, under the Ministry of Science and Technology is mandated to pursue “the attainment of space capabilities as an essential tool for Nigeria’s socio-economic development and the enhancement of the quality of life of its people.”

In 2002, NASRDA set up a 28-year roadmap for the research, development and launching of satellites into orbit from Nigerian soil by 2030. Top on the list was launching a satellite into space.

 

 

In 2003, Nigeria launched its first satellite, NigeriaSat-1 into space from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia and has since made tremendous progress, according to another CSTP staff.

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Nigeria Sat-X built by Nigerian engineers. NigerSat-X According to NASRDA it is the most complicated and the most advanced engineering project ever done by Nigerian engineers and scientists.

After the NigeriaSat-1, we have launched about three other satellites; NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X, also launched from Russia and the NigComSat-1R which was launched from China. What we’re now working on is a rocket that will be assembled and launched by Nigerian indigenous engineers before 2030.”

The agency, which celebrated the third year anniversary of the launch of two earth observation satellites, NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X, also announced that the nation was working seriously to acquire a Synthetic Aperture Radar Satellite (SAR) to consolidate on the nation’s inroad into the space world.

In 2015 Nigeria shocked the world when it beat NASA, the Russian Space Agency and the European Space Agency to win the bid to provide communications satellite technology services to the Republic of Belarus over a 15-year period. Becoming the first and only African nation to host and manage the satellite of a European country.

The Belarus satellite bid has further positioned Nigeria among top global communications satellite players. It should be noted also that Nigeria leases transponders to neighbouring Ghana, Gabon, Cote’dVoire and several other countries using its NIGCOMSAT -1R infrastructure. And with more sattelites in orbit than the rest of the continent combined, Nigeria’s status as Africa’s premier Space faring nation was further cemented by this deal. Raking in $600 million annually from Belarus satellite.

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5 Replies to “After an Extended Hiatus Nigeria has resumed its controversial Rocket Testing at the Centre for Space Transport and Propulsion (CSTP)”

  1. It’s actually not bad for a start. I didn’t realize Nigeria had made so much inroad into the Space program. Quite commendable.

    If only they could have more funding, I’m sure it will eventually be of great benefit to the entire country and sub Saharan region as a whole.

    I also think they should make progress as well in developing rockets for missile technology. Maybe not ballistic but regular missiles at least. It’s a billion dollar industry and It will greatly help in building an industrial military complex with vast export capabilities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We live in a country where a senator take home pay is $122,000. Funding is not what we need. What this country needs is a a generational and intellectual revolution. A revolution the likes the world has never seen.

      Like

      1. The average Nigerian has a gift; the ability to adapt and manage in whatever situation he/she finds him/herself in. Unfortunately, our blessing is also our curse! This is why I find it hard to see Nigerians revolting. All over the world people usually revolt when they have been pushed to the wall, in Nigeria, there’s no wall.. lol! There is hardly any Nigerian that thinks this country is worth dying for. If you disagree, well, ask yourself, can you die for Nigeria?

        Have it in mind that come next year, our leader would either be an ineptitude, REALLY TIRED (retired), clueless slow General or the rich leader of a gang of 40 thieves (PDP) out to enrich themselves further. So again, can you die for our dear Nigeria? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Incredible !!! My thoughts exactly!!! No kidding I was just thinking about the absurdity of the situation. Foreigners say we brag about being all smart and intelligent, how has it helped Nigeria. Well..it’s prevented what could always be Africa’s bloodiest civil war and a culture of tolerance…Because Nigerians are too busy building empires . It’s a quagmire that’s hard to navigate.

        Like

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