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Published on January 24, 2008

Author: Vilfrid

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Slide1:  Past, Present, and Future Space Program African/Nigerian Experience PROF. P. N. OKEKE, FAS NASRDA, Centre for Basic Space Science, Nsukka An invited paper presented at the First African Leadership Conference on Space Science and Technology for Sustainable Development at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.23-25 Nov. 2005 Slide2:  SUMMARY Space activity has tremendously changed human life on Earth as stated by Dr. Abiodun, Dr. Akinyede, and others. It has touched each of the following human necessities: food, water, shelter, education, health care, energy resources, communication, transport, security, and adventure. Industrialized countries invest heavily in space activity without being too conscious of its immediate benefit. African countries are not comfortable to invest in basic space research because its immediate benefit is not evident. Developing Countries like China, India, South Africa Brazil, have successfully joined the World Space Club. Slide3:  In the last three years Nigeria and Algeria have come to realize the importance of joining the World Space Club . A lot has been achieved in space technology within the last 50 years and a lot more remains unsolved. The issue of possible life in Mars and other planets is making NASA very restless and in no distant time, it might be possible to make the permanent extension of human presence beyond the bounds of the Earth as already pointed out by Dr. Abiodun In this paper, we briefly review the past achievement of space technology world wide (a difficult task), discuss its present status, and examine the current role played by African Countries and Nigeria in particular in the development of space technology. Slide4:  1. PAST ACHIEVEMENTS OF SPACE TECHNOLOGY In the past people first studied astronomy and atmospheric sciences because of its fascinations and challenges. It suprisingly turned out that this led to basic discoveries like: radio waves, satellite communication, TV, fax, telephone, electronic mail, aeroplane, weather forecasting, telemedicine etc. Before, Space activities was used as an instrument for demonstrating military supremacy. Today it is for peaceful use. Efforts to build Hi-Tech modern astronomical observatories for viewing space, results in unbelievable technological spin offs, because these instruments requires not only astronomer but skilled engineers and technicians in electronics, optics, mechanics, computer hardwares and softwares to function. Slide5:  It requires advanced industrial capabilities and precision engineering to set up an astronomical radio and optical telescope, like SALT which was commissioned on Nov. 10, 2005. On it way is SKA – one of the largest radio telescope in the world. Big Congratulations to S. Africa. There is enormous competition among advanced countries in the building of large ground based optical and radio telescopes over the past 30 years. The reason is not immediately obvious to African countries. This is why we think it is not a priority exercise. Astronomy has contributed immensely to: Medicine, electronic receivers, Computer programs, industries, and defense to mention a few. Slide6:  2. DEVELOPMENTS IN SPACE TECHNOLOGY WORLD WIDE, RESULTING FROM SATELLITE TECHNOLOGY. 'All Human kind must rise above the Earth to the top of the atmosphere and beyond, for only them he will be able to fully understand the world in which he lives - --Socrates The first artificial satellite - the Sputnik - 1957 by Russia. A major inspiration in space Tech. and opened new techniques. The platform in space can be used either for looking outwards to space (for Astronomical Research) or downwards on earth (for Remote sensing, Meteorology and Space Communication). Slide7:  Today there are thousands of satellites in earth's orbit, lunched by several countries. Nigeria and Algeria realizing the importance of this technology, did not hesitate in leapfrogging to the technology. Satellite can perform several different operations depending on the type of payload. Most notably we have: Remote Sensing Satellite, Communication Satellite, Astronomical Satellite, Meteorology Satellite, and Space Station. Nigeria is presently pursuing the development of the first two types of satellite. Slide8:  The Space Science and Technology Sector can be subdivided into 3 key areas. (i) Space Science & Technology applied to the Earth itself. (a) Earth Observations: Remote sensing, Environmental monitoring, & Meteorology Hundreds of satellite have played key roles: A few include – American LAND SAT, and NOAA, French SPOT, NASA and S. African SUNSAT , AVHRR, Russian METEOR, and NIGSAT 1. (b) Terrestrial Uses Satellite Communication, Satellite Positioning & Navigation Systems, Disaster Warning & Mitigation systems. Here we can mention: INTELSAT, AFRISAT, the GPS involving 24 communication satellites (which gives accurate position, altitude, velocity, time and hence useful in navigation in sea, air, and land) etc and the proposed NIGCOMSAT 1. Slide9:  (ii) Space Science & Technology applied to other bodies in space (a) Astronomical Observations - of stars, planets, moons, asteroids, galaxies & the universe, radiation, particles etc. using ground based & space- based instruments. Existing facilities include: Hundreds of ground based instruments, Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and New Generation Space Telescope (NGST) – Optical, Chandra X-ray satellites and Japan YOKO –X-ray satellites, Compton GRO –Gamma –ray telescope., SIRTF – space infrared telescope facilities, ARISE – Advanced Radio Interferometer between the Earth and Space, LISA –Laser interferometer for gravity waves, black holes and super massive objects. Slide10:  (b) Space Exploration & Exploitation - arbiters, landers, flybys, asteroid, comet, rendezvous etc. NASA, Russia and others have been working in this area. In particular huge money has been invested in the construction of ‘ Space Patrol’ which will monitor the possible collision of a huge asteroid with the earth, and get it deflected or destroyed. Slide11:  (iii) Space Science & Technology applied to space itself (a) Space Sciences Space physical and life Sciences NASA has dominated this area of exploration. They have sent several missions to Mars and other planets. Efforts to establish some form of life in Mars have intensified. Very soon spin offs will begin to emerge. (b) Space Technology & Engineering International space station, Space platforms, Space Transportation The Russians MIR space station and the ISS are doing well. With the advances in solar cell technology, more improved space station is expected. Space Biology research and space medicine have intensified over the years. Space physical science study of crystal growth and fluid behaviour in microgravity and vacuum space have also continued to be important Slide12:  3. NEW DIMENSIONS IN SPACE ACTIVITIES Space activities have: Moved from its initial role as a prime vehicle for displaying ideological and military supremacy, to that of being applied to direct benefit of man. Now become an essential component of the information age. Touched human necessities including: food, water, shelter, education, health care, energy, resources, communications, transportation, security, disaster management and adventure. Provides mankind with the potential tools for economics development. Slide13:  4. EARLY ATTEMPT TO INITIATE BASIC SPACE SCIENCE BY NIGERIANS 1950-1970, University of Ibadan Physicists: O. Awe, and E.O. Olatunji. et al – ionopheric research C.A Onwumechili, et al – Geomagnetism A.I. Ette et al - Atmospheric Electricity. E.E Balogun - Satellite meteorology ( OAU Ile-Ife) M. Fubara - Geodesy and Geodynamics (UST PH) A. Adenyi - Remote Sensing (University of Lagos) S. Patrick. - Remote Sensing (Bayero University) 1972 - Present, University of Nigeria, Nsukka Physicists: S.E.Okoye - Radio Astronomy P.N.Okeke - Optical, Radio Astronomy, Solar physics, & High Energy Astrophysics. What is it that retarded such an early start? The Answer is that Government did not provide coordination and financial support. What of other African countries? Only S.Africa is advancing Little programs are going on in Egypt, Mali, Algeria, Kenya, Ethiopia etc. Slide14:  5. EFFORTS IN SPACE APPLICATIONS PROGRAMS Initiated by Prof. R.A Boroffice and Dr. A Abiodun 1976-89 Effort was made by Government to establish Remote Sensing Centre. 1987, Government constituted a National Committee on Space Applications. 1993, Government produced a draft space policy. 1999, NASRDA was Established in Abuja. 2001, Final space policy was produced and approved by the President. 2002, Six NASRDA development Centres were created (Centre for Basic Space Science-CBSS, Nsukka; Satellite Development- CSD, Abuja; Remote Sensing-CRS, Jos; Space Transport-CST, Lagos; Geodesy-CG, Toro; Space Science and Tech. Education-CSTE, Ile-Ife). Slide15:  MANDATE OF NASRDA & HER CENTRES • Development of Human Resources, Capacity Building and Education (Via international Collaboration) CBSS and CSTD have well defined plans: Collaborators include: Japan, and S. Africa in Radio and Optical Astronomy. Harvard University - Climatic studies and early warning systems. UK , China and Russia - Satellite development and lunching. • Natural Resource Management (Jointly tackled by CSTD, CRS, and CBSS) -Agriculture, land, water, Ecosystems, plant, physical environment • Defence and National security Jointly tackled with NASRDA Slide16:  • Study of Earth and Nigerian space Environment (via international and national collaboration)- atmosphere, solar effects, weather, air pollution, ozone layer, gases, lightening and thunderstorms . – CBSS is to handle with international and national collaborators - USA and NIMET, Abuja. • Space Communication (To provide services in broadcasting, internet, education, and telemedicine) to be handled by the proposed NIGCOMSAT 1 • Study of Distant space Via ground based Astronomical telescopes ( CBSS to handle this with the collaboration of Japan, and South Africa) Slide17:  7. MY VIEWS ON THE WORLD FUTURE OF SPACE TECHNOLOGY It is observed that space activities has so much enabled unprecedented exploration of the environment around Earth and is extending this even deeper into our universe and its origins. However, there is yet a lot to be understood: Origin of cosmic magnetic field, formation of planets and galaxies, life in other planets, dark matter in the universe, nature of Massive black holes, sun-climate connections, too many to enumerate. The tremendous effort by NASA and others to find origin of life in Mars and other planets should not be ignored. Very soon spin offs will begin to emerge. It might be even be possible soon for scientists to make the permanent extension of human presence beyond the bounds of the Earth.. Acording to Dr. Abiodun in 1000 years to come we espect surprising results. Slide18:  Efforts to discover and understand gravitational waves is pointing to a new revolutionary science. The dark matter problem if resolved could have a tremendous impact on our place in the universe. We can safely conclude that many discoveries of tomorrow, perhaps new energy or something revolutionary will undoubtedly emanate from the current intensive research in basic space science Research in Basics space science is thus an important investment for our common future. African countries should be encouraged to participate bearing in mind that original thinking in new directions will yield revolutionary results. Slide19:  8. MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS OF NASRDA & HER CENTRES  Nigeria launch it own Satellite for Remote Sensing and Disaster monitoring in 2003 . The satellite has produced series of valuable maps bought and used by stake holders, and a number projects have been carried out-degradation, Gulley erosion, mineral exploration, disaster monitoring, Production of Abuja Image maps.  Fifteen young Engineers and physicists have been trained in UK ready to lift frog into the technology of satellite. A ground receiving station has been installed at Abuja and is manned by our scientists. Nigeria is again warming up to build and launch a communication satellite by the year 2006. For the first time in 2004, CBSS successfully brought together all our space scientists in universities and research institutes through a workshop to plan as a team, the directions in which Nigeria should go in various areas of space science. Acording to Dr. Abiodun we should carrry them along. Slide20:   CBSS has signed and is about to execute a very serious MOU with Japan National Astronomical observatory. – A Japanese expert in Optical Astronomy arrived Nigeria on November 16 to teach researchers on the use of our newly acquired 18cm and 25cm optical telescopes.  By January 2006 three CBSS researchers will leave for Japan for well planed Capacity building in Radio astronomy and instrumentation.  CBSS is also sending two researchers to Cape Town in February 2006 to train with the Largest optical instrument in the southern Hemisphere (SALT).  CBSS has floated a Journal of Space Science – The Nigerian Journal of Space Research which will publish on regular basis original research carried out by African researchers in various areas of Space science and technology. The first volume will be out in December 2005. Slide21:  9. FUTURE PLANS OF NASRDA As supported by Dr. Akinyede and others, NASRDA is determined to : • Join the world space club in the next few years. • Build up a critical mass of knowledgeable and trained space scientists. • Intensify the development of Basic space science and technology from the grass root. • Pursue aggressive development of basic infrastructure to be able to do things for ourselves. Slide22:  • Carry out careful co-ordinated capacity building in advanced countries in all Hi-Tech areas. Lunch a communication satellite for solving specific national problems. NIGSAT 2 with better resolution should be pursued with S. Africa. •Acquire capabilities to build Hi-Tech equipment like Telescopes and accessories by ourselves. • Capabilities to build and lunch satellites by ourselves. I am extremely happy that our dear President is fully in support. Slide23:  10. CONCLUSION Space Sc. and Tech. Development, is an assignment for all nations. Every Nation should harness and utilize space. Advanced countries of the World have done well . Africa is challenged to join. We should resist to be follower all the time. We should endeavour to think in new directions capitalising on our vantage position. Technology cannot be transferred. We must do it ourselves, by working as a team with African Univ. and proper funding of Basic research by Government.

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