Nigeria's Space Program Is Shooting for the Stars

The country hopes satellite monitoring will help with everything from agriculture to terrorism.

Posted: 03/28/2013 10:12 AM EDT

Nigeria is beating the drums of optimism regarding its satellite-based space program in the hopes that the data collected will help the country with securing steady agricultural production.

The country currently has three satellites in orbit, and although Nigeria boasts one of Africa's biggest space programs with some impressive accomplishments since its start in 2003, not everyone is sold on the plan. BBC reports:

…the satellites are tracking crops and weather around the country in an effort to protect long-term food supply. There is also closer monitoring of the oil-rich Niger Delta, where there has been massive crude oil theft and environmental damage from oil spills.

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Elijah Oyedeji is part of the team that worked on NigeriaSatX and found the initial task of building a satellite programme from scratch quite daunting. "Eventually we were able to catch up," he says.

But not all Nigerians are convinced by these space ambitions. "These projects are always impressive to the ear," says Akintunde Badiru, a Lagos-based banker, "that's why they are commissioned in the first place."

“Let's see whether they are still functioning after four or five years, then we will see if this is worth it," he says.

Read the full story here.

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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