SSTL’s NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X satellites were successfully launched today at 07:12:20 UTC onboard a Dnepr rocket from Yasny in southern Russia. The highly advanced Earth observation satellites will significantly boost African capabilities for natural resource management, as well as aid disaster relief through the Disaster Monitoring Constellation.
Following confirmation of separation from the launch vehicle, ground stations in Abuja and Guildford established contact with NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X respectively and commissioning of the satellites in their 700 km sun-synchronous orbit is now progressing.
The two satellites, built under contract with the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), will provide Nigeria with the ability to enhance food security through monthly crop monitoring, assist with burgeoning urban planning demands and, through the development of engineering skills, will advance the growth of new technologies in Nigeria.
Science Minister David Willetts said: “The completion of this significant engineering project is testament to the success of the rapidly growing UK space industry. Not only are we producing technology and services that are in global demand but we are also helping more countries use satellite imagery to tackle important issues, including urban development and disaster relief.”
NigeriaSat-2, one of the most advanced Earth observation small satellites launched, will provide high-resolution (2.5-metres) images whilst, under a 3-year training and development programme, 26 Nigerian engineers have worked alongside SSTL engineers in Guildford, assembling the accompanying 100kg NigeriaSat-X. After completion of the commissioning phase, NASRDA engineers will control both satellites from their ground station in Abuja.
SSTL’s Executive Chairman, Sir Martin Sweeting, commented: “We congratulate the Nigerian Government on the advancement of their Earth Observation capability. SSTL’s training programmes give testimony to space being a truly international endeavour. Continuing to change the economics of space, SSTL prides itself in providing highly capable and affordable spacecraft for our customers' operational needs."
NASRDA head, Dr S.O Mohammed, said: “This is a great day for the Nigerian space industry and builds on the success of NigeriaSat-1, launched in 2003. NigeriaSat-2 will significantly boost African capabilities for remote sensing applications, specifically for natural resource management. This high resolution satellite will also greatly enhance image data available to the Disaster Monitoring Constellation. Through a comprehensive training programme, Nigerian engineers have worked on the design and build of NigeriaSat-X, benefiting Nigeria’s growing space industry and inspiring development of new technologies.”
Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) is the world's leading small satellite company, delivering operational space missions for a range of applications including Earth observation, science and communications. The Company designs, manufactures and operates high performance satellites and ground systems for a fraction of the price normally associated with space missions, with over 350 staff working on turnkey satellite platforms, space-proven satellite subsystems and optical instruments.
Since 1981 SSTL has built and launched 36 satellites, as well as providing training and development programmes, consultancy services and mission studies for ESA, NASA , international governments and commercial customers, through an innovative approach that is changing the economics of space.
Based in Guildford, UK, SSTL is owned by EADS Astrium NV.