Earlier this week, Nigeria’s science and technology minister Ogbonnaya Onu announced that Nigeria will send an astronaut into space by 2030, thus joining other nations such as India, China, Japan, Canada, Russia, or the United States.
Interestingly enough, in 2006, Nigeria sent a 17-year-old girl on a parabolic flight, which means that the jet in which she was took a quick plunge that created about 30 seconds of weightlessness. At that time, she was called an astronaut.
Even though Nigeria could launch an astronaut in space using other nations’ space vessels, what the country aims to do is to develop its own rockets. This is a bold and smart move considering the fact that other major space agencies could be willing to share their advancement in this field, but not all key information would be shared due to military reasons. However, there is still a long way to go due to the lack of governmental support for the program.
This announcement follows an email scam that claimed that a Nigerian scientist’s cousin was left stranded on a secret Soviet space station after what should have been his seat to return home was filled by cargo when the Soviet Union collapsed. The person who wrote the email was asking for $3 million to help rescue his cousin who has been in space for 26 years.