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FG partners US-based space agency to send first Nigerian to space

Skurla acknowledged Nigeria's impressive scientific and technological achievements and expressed SERA's enthusiasm for collaborating with NASRDA to expand this legacy into space exploration, thereby creating new opportunities for Nigerian space travelers and pioneers.

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The Federal Government has collaborated with a US-based Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA) to launch a historic space mission featuring the first Nigerian astronaut.

The Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, Chief Uche Nnaji, declared at the MoU signing ceremony in Abuja that Nigeria’s long-term goal is to achieve human spaceflight, which aligns with the country’s Space Policy and Programme approved in 2001.

He said: “Human spaceflight is not just a random aspiration of our country but a major objective of the Nigeria Space Policy and Programme, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, in 2001.

“Reviving and implementing all abandoned national plans is a cardinal point of the Renewed Hope Agenda of the administration of President Bola Tinubu. This partnership provides a way of achieving our long-time aspiration as a nation.”

The minister indicated that the opportunity to send a Nigerian astronaut to space could materialize anytime between now and December or potentially in 2025, as SERA is still in the process of testing and refining its space platform.

According to Dr. Matthew Adepoju, Director-General of NASRDA, SERA has graciously covered the entire cost of sending a Nigerian astronaut to space, marking a significant milestone in the agency’s journey towards achieving human spaceflight, a key aspect of its strategic roadmap.

This accomplishment is particularly noteworthy as Nigeria celebrates 25 years of its space program, making it a moment worthy of celebration.

He said: “The Human Spaceflight program is one of the cardinal objectives of the National Space Policy and Programme.

“It was with this in mind that we established the Department of Physical and Life Sciences about three years ago to forge this mandate.

“This is also coming as one of our deep space explorations because there are many spinoffs that will come from the collaboration and opportunities opened for Nigerians.”

Mr. Joshua Skurla, co-founder of SERA, said the global astronaut corps has historically been dominated by just three countries, with 80% of astronauts hailing from these nations.

Skurla acknowledged Nigeria’s impressive scientific and technological achievements and expressed SERA’s enthusiasm for collaborating with NASRDA to expand this legacy into space exploration, thereby creating new opportunities for Nigerian space travelers and pioneers.

Mr. Sam Hutchison, the founder of SERA, stated that the opportunity to venture into space is open to all Nigerians aged 18 and above, regardless of their profession or background, offering a unique chance for individuals from diverse fields to embark on this extraordinary journey.

He said: “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 old, and there are no other qualifications required.

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

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