Nigeria’s Space Program: Launching First Astronaut into Orbit by 2030


Nigeria’s Space Program aims to launch its first astronaut into orbit by 2030, marking a significant milestone in African space exploration.

In a move that might have once seemed the stuff of science fiction, Nigeria is set to launch its first astronaut into space by 2030. This ambitious plan marks a pivotal step in the country’s quest to join the ranks of global space powers, driven by a combination of scientific innovation, strategic collaboration, and visionary leadership.

A Stellar Track Record

Nigeria’s Space Program isn’t starting from scratch. The country has already launched five satellites since 2003, with three still operational, providing crucial services such as climate monitoring and disaster management. The most recent satellite, NigeriaSat-X, was not only launched but also designed and built by Nigerian engineers, showcasing the nation’s growing technical expertise.

From Satellites to Spacewalks

The space program is very important,” emphasized Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, former Minister of Science and Technology, highlighting that space is a critical asset for protecting national interests. Indeed, Nigeria’s space agency, NASRDA, has been at the forefront, collaborating with international partners like the British company Surrey Space Technology Limited (SSTL) and visiting Chinese counterparts to discuss logistics and investments for the manned mission  .

Overcoming Skepticism with Determination

Despite the ambitious nature of the project, skepticism remains, particularly in light of Nigeria’s recent political and economic challenges. Yet, the determination of NASRDA and the support from the highest political levels suggest that these lofty goals are more than just pipe dreams.

The president is committed to the program,”

noted Felix Ale, NASRDA’s communications chief, underscoring the government’s unwavering support .

Continental Inspiration

This mission is not just about national pride; it’s about inspiring a continent. “This would be a landmark achievement for Nigeria and Africa, which will encourage the rest of Africa to get involved,” said Ale. Nigeria’s space ambitions have already fostered regional cooperation, providing satellite imagery to countries like Mali and advocating for an African Space Agency  .

The Long Road Ahead

Training an astronaut is no small feat.

“To train an astronaut from selection to flight takes about eight years,”

explained Dr. Spenser Onuh, head of the Centre for Satellite Technology Development, suggesting that the 2030 timeline is realistic . The program’s success will depend on continued investment in infrastructure and skills, both of which have seen significant growth in recent years.

A Vision Beyond the Stars

Professor Calestous Juma from the Harvard Kennedy School rightly points out that the mission’s true value lies in its broader impact.

“It is the scientific and technological infrastructure and its linkages to the rest of the economy that matters,”

he said, emphasizing that the journey itself is just as important as the destination .

Conclusion: The Final Frontier

Nigeria’s space program is a testament to the nation’s resilience and forward-thinking vision. As the country aims for the stars, it brings the entire continent along on this journey, proving that with ambition and perseverance, even the sky is not the limit.


1. CNN. “Nigeria plans to send an astronaut to space by 2030.” April 6, 2016.

2. Punch Newspaper. “Nigeria plans to send first citizen to space – Official.” June 19, 2024.


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