Nigeria deployed its first satellite, dubbed NigeriaSat-1, in the September of 2003. The satellite was active for eight years before NigeriaSat-2 was deployed in a substitution mission. This satellite became the most advanced imaging spacecraft in its orbit. Similarly, NigeriaSat-X was co-routed from the Yasny military base in Russia at the same period. About mid-2007, Nigeria became the first African country to launch a communication satellite dubbed NigComsat-1. This satellite is said to have cost the country approximately $300 million. Nevertheless, the satellite deorbited in the following year, with the substitute for it called NigComsat-1R coming in three years later.
The costs incurred in deploying and insuring NigeriaSat-1 and NigeriaSat-2 equaled $48.4 million. The institution that built the two satellites is called the Federal University of Technology Akure. This institution revealed that both NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X have a lifespan of seven years. NigeriaSat-1 continued its service in space for another six years since it was active before the technicians at the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) engineered its elimination through a controlled burn up while resurfacing through the Earth’s atmosphere.
Additionally, Nigeria deployed EduSat-1 in June 2017, with the financial analysts valuing the project at $500000. This satellite deorbited two years after its launch. Currently, Nigeria boasts of three satellites that are still in service, with the rest having been deorbited or decommissioned. NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X had their lifespan come to an end in 2018. However, these two satellites are still in orbit and serving their purpose to some extent but not efficiently since some components have outgrown their effective dates. Technically speaking, Nigeria remains with only NigComSat-1R as the active satellite whose optimal active period ends in the next four years.
The country is developing NigeriaSat-3 and NigeriaSAR-1 to substitute those that have exhausted their active period to ensure that the country enjoys the services that the predecessors were providing. The interim Director-General of NASRDA, Dr. Francis Chizea, submitted a paper to the National Council on Science, Technology, and Innovation (NCSTI) calling for quick substitution of the exhausted satellites in a meeting held in the capital of the country last year.
This council brought forward a request to the Federal Government of Nigeria to act accordingly before the end of this year. However, the government may not be able to achieve this target since the economy underwent a recession in the best part of last year. This situation is attributable to the global pandemic ravaging through all nations, with the oil sector witnessing a dip that affected the source of revenue to support such projects.