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Digital World

Nigeria to Send First Citizen to Space in Collaboration with U.S. Firm

The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced its decision to send its first citizen into space. This historic initiative comes following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the U.S. firm Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA) as part of Nigeria’s Human Space Flight programme.

The announcement was made by Mathew Adepoju, Director General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), during a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday.

“This collaboration marks a significant milestone in Nigeria’s 25th anniversary of space exploration and opens new opportunities for scientific research and technological advancement,” Adepoju stated.

This endeavor highlights Nigeria’s dedication to advancing its capabilities in space science and technology, positioning the nation as an emerging player in the global space community.

The initiative is expected to foster research and development, providing numerous benefits and opportunities for the country.

“The Human Space Flight programme is one of the cardinal objectives of our National Space Policy,” Adepoju explained.

“To support this, we established the Department of Physical and Life Sciences three years ago.”

He emphasized the program’s potential to yield significant spinoffs and opportunities for Nigerians.

Chief Uche Nnaji, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, reinforced the importance of human space flight within Nigeria’s National Space Policy and Programme (NSPP).

The NSPP, approved in 2001, included 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 the Space Exploration and Research Alliance (SERA), highlighted the democratic nature of the selection process for Nigeria’s first astronaut.

“Anyone aged 18 and above can apply. The process will allow Nigerians to choose four potential astronaut candidates before a final selection,” Hutchison said, noting that the program is designed to open opportunities to all Nigerians, not just scientists or engineers.

This ambitious program underscores Nigeria’s serious intent regarding future space exploration, promising to pave the way for further achievements in space science and technology.