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Nigeria Aims for the Stars: First Nigerian Citizen Set to Journey into Space

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In a groundbreaking collaboration, the Space Exploration & Research Agency (SERA) and Nigeria’s National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) have joined forces to send the first Nigerian citizen into space. This historic partnership marks a significant leap forward in Nigeria’s space exploration endeavors and promises to unlock new avenues for scientific research and technological advancement.

SERA, a global space agency dedicated to expanding space access for all nations, has committed to reserving a seat for a Nigerian citizen on an upcoming Blue Origin New Shepard suborbital spaceflight. This initiative is part of SERA’s broader mission to send six individuals from countries traditionally underrepresented in space exploration to the final frontier.

Joshua Skurla, Co-Founder of SERA, highlighted the exclusive nature of space exploration to date, with over 80% of astronauts coming from just three countries. He expressed SERA’s honor in partnering with NASRDA to extend Nigeria’s legacy of scientific and technological innovation into space.

SERA, formerly known as CSA, was established to foster a global community devoted to space exploration and research. Its goal is to accelerate global participation in the space sector, with a focus on empowering nations historically underrepresented in space exploration.

NASRDA, founded in 1999, aims to break new frontiers in space exploration and exploitation for Nigeria’s socio-economic benefit. Since launching its first satellite in 2003, Nigeria has made significant strides in space technology, launching five additional satellites.

Chief Uche Godfrey Nnaji, Nigeria’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, emphasized that human spaceflight is a key objective of Nigeria’s Space Policy and Program. He views this partnership as a way to achieve the nation’s long-standing aspirations.

Dr. Matthew Adepoju, Director General of NASRDA, expressed excitement about the collaboration, seeing it as a step towards realizing Nigeria’s goal of putting a person in space. He looks forward to working with SERA and Blue Origin to provide this unique opportunity for a Nigerian to contribute to the nation’s scientific and technological progress.

The Nigerian NGO Learnspace Foundation played a crucial role in facilitating this partnership. Its President, Dr. Anne Agi, successfully advocated for Nigeria’s selection as the African country for this historic mission. Dr. Agi emphasized the inspirational power of space exploration for future generations.

This privately funded initiative demonstrates SERA’s commitment to making space accessible to all and fostering international collaboration. It builds upon SERA’s previous success in sending Victor Hespanha, a Brazilian civil engineer, to space in 2022.

Phil Joyce, Senior Vice President of Blue Origin’s New Shepard program, expressed pride in supporting SERA and NASRDA’s efforts to send the first Nigerian to space and inspire the next generation of space explorers.

As Nigeria prepares to make history with its first citizen in space, this collaboration represents a significant step forward in democratizing space exploration and inspiring future generations of scientists and explorers across the African continent and beyond.



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