Director, Centre for Satellite Technology Development (CSTD), Dr Spencer Onuh, says lack of funds stalled the centre’s plan to manufacture a Nigerian made satellites.
Charity Simon, Abuja
The Director, Centre for Satellite Technology Development (CSTD), Dr Spencer Onuh , yesterday, said lack of funds stalled the centre’s plan of manufacturing Nigerian made satellites.
Onuh told journalists in Abuja that satellite technology remained the driving force behind most developed and developing economies.
”Nigeria empowers other developed countries by buying their satellites and this trend can be reversed when local satellites are developed in the country,’’ he said.
He said that the CSTD had been on the establishment of the Spacecraft Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) Centre.
He said that the AIT centre would serve national and international space programmes for spacecraft assembly, integration and test activities.
He said that the AIT infrastructure was capable of supporting the Nigerian space sector to manufacture its own local satellites and sell to other countries at a reasonable fee for revenue generation.
He expressed worry that in spite of the huge benefit Nigeria stood to gain from manufacturing its own satellites; lack of fund had handicapped the centre from achieving the AIT design and operation.
”The AIT design centre is at the heart of space programme in Nigeria and that is one of the areas that is very painful to us that we have not made headway.
” The centre was mandated by the Federal Executive Committee to manufacture our own satellites, the road maps has been given to us.
”We are now waiting for the appropriate intervention from the government to help us meet that target because on our own we have built the capacity so we can do it.
”If Nigerian engineers and scientist can design a satellite that is still orbiting and still capturing data, still downloading and receiving telemetry information, then they can also manufacture satellites.
”This is because I have trained personnel, engineers and scientists that can deliver made in Nigeria satellites but they cannot do it because these equipments are not there.
”The building and civil work for the AIT is on but we can’t even progress beyond that level because of lack of funding.’’
Onuh said that all Nigerian engineers and scientists needed was the tools and equipment in the AIT centre to commence work immediately.
He appealed to the Federal Government to make space science a priority project in the new dispensation in country so that Nigeria could join the space- developed nations.
He said that apart from that, the AIT would also be useful to tertiary and research institutes for conducting high impact scientific research, ”which is of global standard’’.
He said that the centre would also be testing components for other space agencies in other countries that were involved in satellite design and manufacturing and generate hard currency for Nigeria.
”This is why the AIT is key to us; when Nigeria went to UK for the first space training. Turkey and Algeria also went for the same training. The two countries returned home, they built their own satellites.
”This was because they were given a mini AIT centre; these guys are not more clever and intelligence than our engineers and scientist but because they were given the tools they excelled.
”So, the challenge before us is to build our own satellites and it’s an area we are appealing to the government to look into so we can achieve our goal,’’ he said.