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Nigeria plans 2009 satellite launch

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Nigeria is gearing up for the launch of NIGERIASAT-2, an Earth-observation satellite that will form part of the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC).

The DMC is a series of small, low-cost satellites, owned independently and run cooperatively by Algeria, China, Nigeria, Turkey and the UK. The satellites are arranged so they can photograph any place on Earth on any given day.

They are used to watch over disasters, such as the Asian Tsunami in 2004, and help coordinate relief efforts.

The constellation was used after the Boxing Day Tsunami: it was able to provide rescue workers with detailed images of the affected areas, enabling emergency workers to focus relief where it was most urgenty needed.

NIGERIASAT-2 is slated for launch some time in 2009. Its UK manufacturers, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), have signed a contract to supply not just the satellite itself, but the ground infrastructure, knowledge transfer and training needed to operate and manage the programme from the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) of Nigeria HQ in Abuja.

The satellite will carry two imaging systems. One, SSTL’s latest high-resolution imager, collects data in strips 20km wide. The other, a 32m resolution multispectral imager, also capable of switching between four spectral bands, that collects data in strips 300km wide.

The satellite, once operational, will produce between 100 and 400 geo-processed images per day over its 7-year mission lifetime. ®

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