Nigerian government signs agreement with SERA on space flight missions 

By Hadiza Ndadama, Abuja  


In a bid to collaborate on human space flight missions, the Nigerian government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA) from Delaware, USA. 


The MoU which was signed through the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), was supervised by the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, Uche Nnaji. 


The Minister who underscored the importance of the partnership for the rapid development of Nigeria’s space program, stressed that human space flight has been a key objective of the nation.  


“The National Space Policy and Program (NSPP), approved by the Federal Executive Council in 2001, identifies human space flight as one of its three pillars. According to the 25-year roadmap approved in 2005 for the implementation of the NSPP, our first human space flight was scheduled for 2018,” he said. 


Nnaji added that Nigeria is already six years behind schedule considering the 25-year roadmap approved in 2005 for the implementation of the NSPP. 


“In an effort to correct past delays and align with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, we have revitalized the Federal Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Technology and all its parastatals since I assumed office. I am pleased to see our efforts bearing fruit. The signing of this MOU is a testament to our rigorous efforts over the past months,” the Minister added. 

The Minister congratulated the Director General of NASRDA and his team on the achievement and also recognized the role of the Learn Space Foundation in facilitating the collaboration, saying that their kind of involvement is what is expected from other Nigerians, especially those in the private sectors. 


The Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Esuabana Nko Asanye commended SERA for its timely intervention, stressing that Nigeria has been eager to explore the space ecosystem but has not realized such a dream. 


She noted that with the signing of the MoU, the country will be able to achieve the awaited space exploration dream. 


The Director-General of NASRDA, Dr Mathew Adepoju, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, saying it is a historic moment for NASRDA and Nigeria. 


“When the agency was established on 8th May 1999, not many nations in Africa dreamt of having a Space Program, but today, NASRDA is the only space agency in Africa whose activities cover the chain of the space eco-system,” the DG said. 


He further revealed that the Agency has successfully launched six satellite missions since inception with the collaboration of international partners. 


The Co-Founder of the Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA), Joshua Skurla, said that Nigeria is a country that is endowed with brilliant scientists that have interest in exploring the space economy and with the collaboration, SERA is ready to give Nigerians the opportunity to go to space. 


He said the selection process will be democratic as Nigerians will be given opportunity to select whom they want. 


“The process of the application will be open to anybody in Nigeria who is over 18 years of age. There are no other qualifications required. You will be able to sign up and encourage others to vote for you,” he said. 


Skurla said with such democratic process, the Nigerian people will select an initial four potential astronaut candidates before the final selection process. 

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