The centre is a very critical component of the $55m earth-observation satellite facility due for launch within the first quarter of 2010.
It is the place where space engineers and scientists attached to NigeriaSat-2 perform the nominal operation of tracking, control, command, data upload and download.
The Director-General of NASRDA, Professor Robert Boroffice, who made the disclosure yesterday while addressing newsmen in Abuja as part of the ceremonies marking the five years of Nigerian satellite in space, said the agency would relocate the NigeriaSat-1 mission control centre from its temporary base in Asokoro to NASRDA’s permanent site along airport road in Abuja.
“Starting from tomorrow, 26th June, NASRDA would commence the relocation of the NigeriaSat-1 Mission Control Centre (MCC) from its present location of the Asokoro to the agency’s permanent site at the Space Centre at Lugbe in Abuja”, he said.
He said the $55m NigeriaSat-2 space satellite with higher resolution of five metres would be due for launch within the first quarter of 2010 instead of the projected 2009.
The D-G said the reason for the relocation of the Sat-1 MCC to its permanent site was taken by the management in view of the escalating cost of rent being incurred on the temporary site. He said since the agency has moved its offices to the permanent site, there is the need to also bring all its facilities under one roof.
Boroffice disclosed that some of the electronics of MCC would be shipped to its partners in the United Kingdom for refurbishment and upgrading to make it compatible with the NigeriaSat-2 spacecraft.
According to him, the NigeriaSat-1 MCC would serve as a back up for the NigeriaSat-2MCC which will be due for installation at NASRDA headquarters within the next eight weeks. He said Nigerian scientists and engineers currently undergoing training in UK would take charge of controlling the satellite while the refurbishment will be executed at no cost to the country.
The NigeriaSat-1 which was launched in 2003 had a resolution of 32 metres, while the new satellite is designed to give a higher resolution of 5 metres and will also be equipped with more spectrum than the first one.
Explaining the distinctive roles of both Sat-1 and Sat-2, Boroffice said the first satellite is essentially a disaster monitoring and mapping satellite which has assisted Nigeria and countries in other parts of the world with essential data in the area of drought management, food security programmes, improved agricultural yield and environmental management.
The agency’s Project’s Director in-charge of NigeriaSat-2, Mr. C. Chizea said the satellite project is moving ahead of schedule as the training of Nigerian space engineers attached to the project is almost completed.
“We have also completed the critical review of the spacecraft in readiness for the final testing of the satellite”, he said.