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FG to send first Nigerian to Space

The Nigerian government and the Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA) from Delaware, USA, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to send the first…

The Nigerian government and the Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA) from Delaware, USA, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to send the first Nigerian to space.

Chief Uche Nnaji, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, said on Wednesday at the signing of the MoU in Abuja that human spaceflight was a major aspiration of Nigeria.

“This partnership provides a way of achieving our long-time aspiration as a nation,’’ he said.

The minister said the slot could be available from now till December, or in 2025, as SERA would still be test-running the platform.

Dr Matthew Adepoju, the director-general of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), said the cost of sending a Nigerian to space had been fully sponsored by SERA.

Adepoju said the event marked the commencement of the agency’s efforts to implement part of its roadmap of having a human spaceflight.

Mr Joshua Skurla, co-founder of SERA, said 80 per cent of astronauts globally had exclusively emanated from three countries.

Skurla said Nigeria had a rich history of scientific and technological innovation, thus, SERA was excited to partner with the NASRDA to extend the legacy into space and create new opportunities for Nigerian space explorers.

Mr Sam Hutchison, the founder of SERA, said the application to be in space was open to any Nigerian older than 18 years, irrespective of their discipline.

“The Nigerian people will choose the citizen to go to space, the process of application will be open to anybody who is over 18 years, and there are no other qualifications required.

“You will be able to sign up and encourage others to vote for you. As part of the democratic process, Nigerian people will select four potential astronaut candidates before a final selection process.

“The important thing to understand is that anybody can apply; you don’t have to be a scientist, mathematician or an engineer,’’ he said.

Hutchison noted that the selection process would be through SERA’s platform and that it would be open and transparent. (NAN)

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