Nigeria launches spy satellites into orbit

Nigeria has launched two satellites into orbit with the aim of using them for a range of tasks, including disaster monitoring and security, a government statement said.

The satellites — NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X — were launched on Wednesday from a rocket launch base in Yasny, Russia.

According to the government, the two satellites can be used for forestry, mapping, disaster monitoring, military applications and security, among other functions.

“I congratulate our nation for this new chapter in our transformational efforts as we strive for self-reliance,” President Goodluck Jonathan said. “Let me congratulate the resourceful Nigerians who made this history possible.”

According to Jonathan, NigeriaSat-X was designed and built by Nigerian engineers and scientists, while NigeriaSat-2 was built in collaboration with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited in Britain.

A much-hyped Nigerian satellite launch in 2007 led to disappointment when it later failed. The $257-million Chinese-built satellite was to provide phone, Internet and broadcast services.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer, but has been hit by a range of security challenges, including an Islamist insurgency that has left scores dead in the country’s northeast. — Sapa-AFP

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