Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Satellite: Nigeria benefits from $100m Indian Pan Africa e-Network

Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Mahesh Sachdev, has said that his country has over 22 foreign satellites in the past 48 years.

Just as Nigeria is benefitting from the Indian satellite largesse for the continent worth $100 million through the Pan Africa e-Network.

According to IndiaPage, a public enlightenment weekly newsletter from the embassy in Abuja, although Indian space programme was founded in 1962, it was only in 1969 that the first Indian weather sounding rocket was launched.

In 48-years since its inception, he said, Indian space programme has had a number of successes, including a lunar mission last year that found water on moon.

“Today India has 10 remote sensing satellites orbiting the earth. India also has 11 communication satellites rendering valuable services,” he said.

Stressing that the Indian Space Programme is under the Department of Space and is implemented by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Pointing out that ISRO collaborates heavily with Antrix Corporation which provides space related services, such as fabricating satellites and launching them, putting up hardware, selling data from existing satellites, training on commercial basis.

Equally, he said, that since 1999, Antrix has successfully launched 22 foreign satellites, noting that India had always shared its space knowledge with its friends including Pan African e-Network, which he said, India gave out a $100 million gift to the continent and has remained operational since last year, thus providing tele-education and tele-medicine facilities in over 35 Africa countries, including Nigeria, Benin & Cameroon.

Recalling that experts estimated that India’s space economy is worth $ 125 billion – or nearly a tenth of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“India’s space programme is not only very cost effective, it is highly relevant to India’s developmental needs, especially in such important sectors as agriculture, healthcare, banking, education, communication, broadcasting, town-planning, monitoring climate change and disaster management,” he said.

Each Rupee invested in ISRO, he said, has returned two Rupees worth of benefits, even as ISRO is planning bigger projects such as Chandrayaan-2 to moon in 2013 and sending an Indian astronaut on Indian rocket, this debate will continue.

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