Nigeria‰Ûªs New Satellite to Monitor Disasters, Urban Development

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Photo of buildings reflected in a puddle. Photo Credit: Till Westermayer

The first images returned from NigeriaSat-2, Nigeria’s first high-resolution Earth observation satellite, demonstrate enhancements put into place by the Nigerian space agency.

A selection of images from NigeriaSat-2 were presented at the 62nd International Astronautical Congress held earlier this month in Cape Town, South Africa. The unit was manufactured by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) of Guildford, U.K., and launched in August. It is SSTL‰Ûªs first 300kg-class satellite.

The first images include a view of the airport at Salt Lake City in the United States, with terminal buildings, aircraft, runways, cars and surrounding roads all clearly visible. The 2.5m-resolution images are sharp enough to see painted numbers on the tarmac and count the engines on larger aircraft.

Surrey representatives say the NigeriaSat-2 represents a significant step forward for the Nigerian space agency (NASRDA) from the satellite‰Ûªs 100kg predecessor, NigeriaSat-1. The increased size accommodates a larger camera, heptagonal platform and an enhanced data handling and power system.

An extract of terminal buildings at the Salt Lake City Airport. Source: SSTL/NASRDA.

An extract of terminal buildings at the Salt Lake City Airport. Source: SSTL/NASRDA.

NigeriaSat-2 also is the first satellite in the African Resource Management constellation. It has added new, higher resolution imaging capability to the Disaster Monitoring Constellation, a fleet of separately owned small satellites, coordinated by DMC International Imaging Ltd for daily global monitoring.

(See articles from Earthzine‰Ûªs Disaster Management theme)

During disasters, NigeriaSat-2 will be used to zoom in on areas of interest and determine damage to buildings, bridges and roads. The unit also will be used to map the entire country in detail every four months, monitor urban development and inform planning decisions in cities such as Lagos, with a population of 17 million.

This year‰Ûªs International Astronautical Congress was sponsored by SSTL, and company representatives presented a number of papers on topics including optical imaging payloads, altimetry and low-cost spacecraft for situational awareness, according to Space Daily.