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Nigeria partners with SERA and Blue Origin to send first citizen to space

Nigeria is sending its first citizen to space. The partnership with SERA and Blue Origin is facilitating this.
Nigerians are going to space on Jeff Benzo's Blue Origin

Following in the footsteps of the first human space traveler over 60 years ago, a Nigerian will finally have the opportunity to do the same. This milestone is made possible through a groundbreaking partnership between the Space Exploration & Research Agency (SERA), a global space agency promoting accessibility, and the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), the Nigerian space agency.

The partnership will see SERA reserve a seat on an upcoming Blue Origin New Shepard suborbital spaceflight exclusively for a Nigerian citizen, marking a historic moment for the nation. This SERA-funded initiative, in collaboration with NASRDA, is open to all Nigerians aged 18 and above, providing a unique and groundbreaking opportunity for one individual to join the ranks of space explorers.

This mission is part of a larger SERA initiative in collaboration with Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin, aiming to send six individuals to space from nations historically underrepresented, increasing access to space exploration.

The initiative follows the previous footsteps of Victor Hespanha, a Brazilian civil engineer who flew with Blue Origin in 2022. Now, the initiative is set to achieve another milestone by giving a Nigerian citizen the chance to journey to space, highlighting the commitment to inclusivity and representation in the final frontier.

However, it's important to know that this mission is a major step towards breaking down barriers in space exploration, as highlighted by SERA co-founder Joshua Skurla: "With over 80% of astronauts coming from just three countries, space has been exclusive for too long. We're honored to partner with NASRDA to change that and empower the next generation of Nigerian space explorers."

Well, until now, space exploration has been dominated by a few, with over 80% of all astronauts hailing from just three countries. Nigeria, with its rich history of scientific and technological innovation, deserves a place in this arena.

Furthermore, for over two decades, Nigeria has expressed its space ambitions and taken steps to realize them, establishing the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) in 1998 and approving the National Space Policy (NSP) in 2000. These efforts translated into concrete achievements, with the launch of NigeriaSat-1 (Nigerian first satellite) in 2003, followed by five additional satellites. In 2016, the goal of sending a Nigerian astronaut to space by 2030 was announced.

Now, that goal is rapidly approaching reality. "We are delighted to see this partnership come to fruition. Human space flight is not just a random aspiration of our country," said Uche Godfrey Nnaji, Nigeria’s Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, while signing the MoU on behalf of the Federal Government. This partnership with SERA and Blue Origin is a significant step towards achieving that vision and placing Nigeria on the global space exploration map.

Dr. Matthew Adepoju, Director General and Chief Executive of NASRDA, described the partnership as "a testament to Nigeria’s growing prominence in the global space community." He emphasized that this collaboration not only highlights Nigeria's scientific and technological advancements but also underscores its commitment to becoming a key player in space exploration.

The upcoming mission will serve as a beacon of inspiration for Nigerians and a demonstration of the nation's capabilities. It will pave the way for future generations of Nigerian space explorers and solidify Nigeria’s place in the annals of space history. The selection and application process for the first Nigerian space traveler is expected to be open to all citizens over 18, making this a truly national endeavor.

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With five years experience in Media, Temmy Samuel's become a modern journalist, delivering impressive reporting about tech, finance, business and science around the world. More About Temmy

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