The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) wants Nigeria to harness the benefit of launching satellites from the Equatorial orbit, saying it is shorter to space and cheaper.
Dr. Spencer Onuh, the Director, Centre for Satellite Technology Development (CSTD), one of NASRDA’s activity centres, said this during the 9th Annual Space Conference and Exhibition in Abuja with the theme, 'Exploration of Equatorial Orbit for Space Optimisation'.
Nigeria in 2003, 2007 and 2011 launched its satellites from China, Italy and Russia respectively which are outside the equatorial orbit.
Onuh, however, explained that the equatorial orbit is an orbit roughly in line with the equator of the being planet orbited while polar orbit is one in which a satellite passes above or nearly above poles of the body being orbited on each revolution.
He added, “There is a natural endowment of advantages the equatorial region bestows on us. For a country like Nigeria, we do a lot of revisiting of satellites for information gathering in disaster management, security, agricultural issues. We need to make use of equatorial orbit to reap the benefits of space science and technology.
Speaking further Onuh noted, “Private partnership can be Nigeria having international collaborations that should be done in our interest, on our terms.
“We have the capacity to challenge the European space industry, our challenge is the infrastructure, we need to fix our ground station, our Assembly, Integration and Testing lab.
“Private-public-partnership can be encouraged to develop space science technology because satellite business is not just about government.”
Similarly, Prof. Babatunde Rabiu, the Director of Centre for
Atmospheric Research, said that satellites from the equatorial orbit deviated from the equatorial plane of a planet by less than 45 degrees.
“NEqO satellites have possible programming and selection of areas to be observed with acceptable cloud cover before and during satellite data acquisition. I observed that most of the nations in the equatorial belt are actually underdeveloped and considered as nations
with poor management of resources.”