Nigeria launches satellite to replace earlier failed attempt

Nigeria on Monday launched a communications satellite into space to replace one that failed in 2008, the country's satellite agency said. The satellite was launched from Xichang in southwest China and the event was broadcast live on Nigerian state television. NigComSat-1R, is expected to help boost communications, broadcasting and broadband multimedia services across large swathes of Africa and parts of Europe and Asia. The Chinese-built satellite replaces a $257-million model which was launched in 2007 but failed the following year due to a battery charging problem. The new satellite was paid for by the insurer of the previous one, according to Nigeria's government. With a service lifespan of 15 years, the satellite is designed to meet the needs of telecommunications, maritime, defense and broadcast media services in Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Europe and Asia. President Goodluck Jonathan said the new satellite "will enhance our communications system as well as facilitate cheaper access to the Internet with a view to bridging the existing digital divide between our urban and predominantly rural communities." In August, Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and largest oil producer, launched two satellites for disaster monitoring, mapping and security operations. The two were launched at a base in Russia. by Chris Lefkow © 2011 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Dec 19, 2011