Nigeria Resumes Rocket Testing

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AFTER an extended hiatus, Nigeria has resumed its controversial testing of rockets at the Centre for Space Transport and Propulsion (CSTP)—an operational arm of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).

Dr. Charles Attah Osheku, the new CSTP director and chief executive officer, confirmed Friday, in a late night phone interview, that a series of test firings of experimental rockets were conducted last March and also in April.

The launches, he said, are ongoing: “We are conducting the tests primarily for scientific purposes, but also as training exercises for our technical personal and a challenge to our scientists and engineers, for whom the experience is vitally important”.

A NASRDA scientific officer, who requested anonymity, reported that CSTP has recently launched several rockets “with varying degrees of success”. Some of these, he said, had reached altitudes of three kilometers, possibly higher.

The size and configuration of the crafts, or whether there is foreign involvement, was not specified. The Guardian had, on Sunday, November 16, 2008, reported that CSTP had been secretly launching indigenously constructed experimental rockets.

During The Guardian’s visit to Epe, in 2008, Oluremi A. Fashade, the then Coordinator of the Centre, brought out one of the rockets and released a video of a successful test. The solid fuel missile was about three metres long and constructed entirely from locally sourced materials.

In his interview, Fashade — who now heads Research and Development at the African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education, Il-Ife — said NASRDA would eventually “graduate to bigger and more complex craft.”

Osheku did not reveal the exact dimensions of the rockets his Centre is currently testing. But an earlier interview, with another source, left the impression that these missiles are larger than the ones Fashade had been experimenting with.

Another uncertainty is the site of the launches. At Epe, the testing range was adjacent to the campus of Lagos State University — and may still be.

But when Fashade was Coordinator, he told The Guardian that NASRDA would construct a new launch facility, on a remote island, off Nigeria’s coast.

No one is willing to discuss this now. When the subject was broached to Dr. S.O. Mohammed, the director general at NASRDA, his reaction was: “We don’t want to talk about ‘launch sites’. The Federal Government will decide if, and when, that issue is to be addressed.”

Internationally, rocketry is a sensitive subject, because it encompasses “dual use technology”—instruments that can be used, either for peaceful or military purposes. “Nigeria must, therefore, tread softly,” Mohammed allowed, ” to avoid sending the wrong signals about our intentions, which are entirely peaceful”.


More @ The Guardian

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4 thoughts on “Nigeria Resumes Rocket Testing”

  1. The Nigerian should not be shy or secretive about developing their missile technology. A big country and regional power like Nigeria should have been manufacturing anti plane, anti ship, anti tank, ballistic and air to air missile long time ago. Country like Iran and Pakistan manufacture their own ballistic missile. The Indian this week tested their Agni 6 missile capable of reaching Europe.

  2. Good work Nigeria! Africa needs to be able to launch its own satellites in space for peaceful purposes. It would have been useful to have it as a Pan African initiative-but I am speaking from ignorance-its probably what is going on. There will be detractors and saboteurs. This is almost automatic of the bandits of Babylon who have self-styled as the “international community”.

  3. No country should deterred Nigeria to pursue advance space technology . Nigeria has all the resources needed to make the dreams comes true. and Its time Nigeria shoot for the star and the moon. Nigerians brain drained all over the world should not hesitate to helping nigeria reaching her great potential technologically. If countries like India, Pakistan, Iran, south korea could advanced in the same field ,and challenge Nigerians scientist to move fast and put nigeria on the world map in advance space technology. because the country has the zeal and the commitment to achieve anything . The present administration under GEJ had made some remarkable success since inception and expect the government to do more in the years ahead.Lastly the problem of corruption among public officials and politicians should top government agenda for the country to meet vission 2020 .

  4. Nigeria Government should do more in promoting made in nigeria goods and services.Recently, i read why Late Mandela was very angry with Nigeria ,and the reason was simple. The late anguish was that Nigeria fail to lead African countries in the rightful path towards economical developments and Political stability. This contained in the interview Dr Baba Ahmed and former minister of foreign affairs few years ago. According to Mandela Nigeria corruption had set the country backwards for years under military rule.He further lamented that the world expects Nigeria to be a walking giant but failed .Thanks for the Democratic process in the country with OBJ Leading the way. The federal Government,Private company should collaborate and work closely with other world institution to making Nigeria becoming a true leader of Africa. Nigeria has the resources it takes to becomes the champion in the continent. Some times i read where the western media comparing Nigeria with other Smaller African countries and it was a wake up call for the country.Nigeria poor goverance and long years corrupt leaders held the country Hostage for so long .Since 1999 the progress the country made surpass 35 years of military rule. even though the comutry still suffer massive corruption among government and politicians alike. One of the problem the present administration was inability to curb corruption posing great threat to the country. Another problem was continues reappointment old politicians to head difference offices and renders young people with new ideas lie fallow.There should no be any exemption to any one play with law should recieve punishment according to the constitution. The Administration should stop romance corruption in the country.Nigeria may rewrite history in the next few year under the present administration.

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