The Japanese government, through the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan, has completed its “Bird Project” in collaboration with satellite engineers and space agencies from Bangladesh, Ghana, Mongolia, Nigeria, and Thailand.
The “Bird Project” consists of five Nanosatellites and seven ground control stations located around the world. The five Nanosatellites were built by Bangladeshi, Ghanaian, Mongolian, Nigerian, and Thai satellite engineers with the assistance and guidance from faculty at the Kyushu Institute of Technology. With the exception of Japan, the participating countries will operate a satellite each.
The Nanosatellites will be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) in May on board a SpaceX capsule. Once transferred to the ISS the Nanosatellites will be placed into low earth orbit where they will conduct a series of missions and experiments that include taking images of the Earth’s surface, the file transfer of a song from Earth orbit to a Ham radio network in the Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) band, and attempts at close proximity operations in orbit.
Speaking on behalf of Nigeria’s National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr. Felix Ale said, “A total number of 15 engineers and scientists from Nigeria, Japan, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Ghana and Thailand are selected through a competitive global process for the project.’’
The Nigerian Nanosatellite was designed and built in collaboration with the Federal University of Technology in Akure, Nigeria, with assistance and guidance provided by the Japanese.
According to Dr. Ale, the Nigerian participation in “Bird Project” has helped NASRDA better understand the requirements for satellite manufacturing, space cooperation, and NASRDA’s ability to collaborate with Nigerian universities.
Dr. Ale also said that three Nigerian engineers were able to complete their doctorate degrees thanks to their involvement in “Bird Project” and the completion of the Nigerian Nanosatellite.
The Nigerian and Ghanaian participation is also another advancement for African countries looking to exploit satellites and space applications for land and resource management, improved urban and rural planning, economic development, and security.