Nigeria Set to Launch NigcomSat-2 and 3

As part of Nigerian Communications Satellite's coverage expansion project, plans have reached advanced stages for the launch of NigComSat-2 and 3, according to managing director Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai.

The imminent launch follows the completion of 300 community telecommunication centers and deployment of NigComSat-1 services to West Africa, as stated in the company's quarterly newsletter.

The plans for NigComSat-2 and 3 form part of the satellite firm's expansion vision to ensure that the benefits of the satellite's applications are enjoyed by all on the African continent, Ahmed-Rufai said.

NigComSat, he said, is set to get indigenous investments in the country by demonstrating its capacity and capability to develop into a huge commercial enterprise as well as compete in the international satellite market with the so-called established satellite operators.

Ahmed-Rufai called on the government to institute policies that will guarantee business continuity for the likes of NigComSat, noting that the technology will position Nigeria as a leader in global satellite operations.

NigComSat is a public-private partnership under the Federal Ministry of Science Technology, with the private sector holding a controlling share.

The company manages and operates the first geostationary communication satellite in sub-Saharan Africa. The satellite was launched in May 2007 based on a contract signed in December 2004 between Nigeria and China Great Wall Industry Corporation, which provides C, Ku, Ka and L bands. CGWIC handed over management of NigComSat-1 to the Nigerian government in July 2007 after several days of in-orbit adjustments and tests and the installation of two ground stations.

Designed and manufactured by the China Academy of Space Technology, NigComSat-1, which was launched physically from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China's southwest Sichuan Province, uses China's Dongfanghong IV carrier as a telecommunication and broadcasting platform. Its life span is 15 years with 28 transponders in 4 wavelengths.

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