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Monday, December 01, 2008

Usman cautions Nigeria on NigComSAT-1

United States-based Nigerian chief software architect of Schaide Technologies, Mr. Modibo Yunusa Usman, has called for caution on the issues surrounding the recent demise of the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSAT-1).

He said that Nigerians should not be quick to conclude on the vexed satellite, because it is not the first or will it be the last to experience failure.

Commenting weekend on NigComSAT-1, Usman urged Nigerians to see the failure of this initial satellite as a stepping stone to greater height by involving more research work on how to have a better satellite in the near future.

“As we remain the only country in the world with a success on first launch record. I hope our distrust for elected officials and our hand-them- high mentality for perceived failure without understanding the facts will be re-evaluated, at least, for the sake of national development,” he said.

Usman noted that at this critical time in Nigeria’s development, “we must begin to understand that our failure belongs to our leaders as much as theirs eventually becoming ours.”

He pointed out that Nigerians must learn that if our leaders are expected to succeed by way of doing the right things, “so also we affect their success and ultimately ours by beginning to do the right things.”

The software expert also said that Nigerians must learn to have the facts before them in order to offer relevant criticism instead of jumping into conclusion on the slight-less actions, especially by those in the authority.

“We must learn the truth about issues and have the courage to support what is right against popular or partisan consensus,” he said.

Concerning the failed NigComSAT-1, Usman said that there are no easy solutions for the failing satellite globally, warning that Nigerians should desist from asking for the sack of those in authorities because something went wrong, “but let us not start by throwing away the baby with the bath water. Let us not discard all we have learnt since the inception of NigComSAT.”

Nigeria, he said, must forge ahead as one great nation and one people in all areas of technological endeavor.

“We must be our brother’s keepers, simply because no one else would do this,” he asserted, warning that one day Nigeria’s honey moon with big oil wells will come to pass, and argued that Nigerians should centre attention on sustenance of NigComSAT.

Adducing some reasons why the satellite failed, Usman said the truth is that nobody builds a house and expects it to burn or does one spawn a child and expects that it would die prematurely.

“Accidents do happen, no where is this more prevalent, than in the area of orbital and technology research,” he said.

In the recent past, Usman noted that the United States has lost over 1.3 trillion dollars in space and orbital research technology since the early 90’s.

“US space shuttles and satellites have crashed-exploded and have been lost in space for decades. Even when countless human lives were lost, no one was asked to resign in National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the government and agency were not chided or rebuked because every American understood that this was a necessary sacrifice for technological advancement and superiority,” he said.

Rather, he said, the American people celebrated the successes of their space agency, NASA, and the brilliant people who work their, advocating for more sponsorship to get the job done better where failures were observed.

Recently, he explained that he had to return a brand new Nissan because of electrical failure.

“How then do we expect advanced orbital systems to be fail proof? I can’t recall how many times NASA has had to abandoned space missions because of a faulty chip on the satellite, but what I do know is that Nigeria is one of the 45 countries in the world that have a satellite in space and one of 17 that has more than one payload deployed,” he said.

Many of these countries, Usman emphasized, have had a rough road to becoming one of the 45, recalling that India’s failed launch destroyed a 2 ton communications satellite on July 10, 2006, while Brazil had 3 failed attempts and lost their satellite on October 22, 1999, while China had 11 collective failed attempts. South Korea also lost their first satellite in space Jan 6th 2008.

In addition, he said, that Australia, Russia on June 23 2005 took turn in the failed satellite deal with US; Japanese satellite for direct TV broadcast in 2001 and the 500 million pounds EU super satellite on 2001 have all been lost in space.

“Almost every member of the 45 country club has lost a satellite in space, with the exception of the more recent newcomers, and yet there has been no call for resignations or even a mockery of the government as some Nigerians are advocating,” he said.

Describing the failed NigComSAT-1 should serve as part of the learning curve in orbital and space research, saying it is a little price to pay to achieve technological advancement that would directly impact the lives of Nigerians.

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