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    NigComSat-1 returns to space

    The much vaunted replacement satellite of the Nigerian Communications Satellite-1 has returned successfully to the space with the launch yesterday [Monday, 19 December 2011] evening.

    Daily Champion gathered from China where the Long March 3B (LM-3B) launch vehicle from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, located in South West China was conducted as at 5.40pm.

    NigComSat-1R is in fulfillment of the Chinese company's promise to replace NigComSat-1, which was de-orbited due to malfunctioning of Solar Array Deployment Assembly (SADA) on November 10, 2008.

    Confirming this, the deputy general manager, Corporate Communications, Mr. Sonny Aragba-Akpore told Daily Champion that the spacecraft entered the predefined orbit of perigee being 200km, apogee 41991km and inclination 24.8. NigComSat-1R is the fourth in-orbit delivery contract signed by China Space with its international customers.

    He also said that the launch was conducted in line with the NigComSat-1R contract signed between the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT) and China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

    He noted that NigComSat-1R spacecraft is built on Dong Fang Hong 4 (DFH-4) satellite bus developed by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and launched by LM-3B launch vehicle, developed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle (CALT).

    China Satellite Launch Tracking And Control General (CLTC), he said, is providing tracking, control and ground segment support for the programme, just as NigComSat-1R is the 8th satellite built on the DFH-4 bus for in-orbit delivery and the NigComSat-1R launch is the 18th flight of LM-3B launch vehicle and the 154th flight in the series of the Long March launchers.

    The project, he said, was carried out in conjunction with over 50 NIGCOMSAT engineers who spent the last 31 months in China. The satellite with service lifespan of over 15 years was designed to meet the needs of telecommunications, maritime, defense, broadcast media in Africa, particularly Nigeria, parts of Europe and Asia.

    An elated managing director, NIGCOMSAT Limited, Mr. Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai declared "this is mission fulfilled," adding that NigComSAT1-R has 28 active transponders and quad band of Ku, ka, C-Band and L-band.

    He also said that there are two ground stations located in Abuja, Nigeria and Kashi, China owned by NIGCOMSAT which participated fully in the launch.

    Top government officials that witness the launch included the Communications Technology, Minister, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, her Science and Technology counterpart, Prof. Okon Ewa Bassey, chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, House members, Nigcomsat 1R project director and executive director, marketing, Abimbola Alale and chief executive of LASACO Insurance Plc, Mr. Sola Ladipo-Ajayi among others.


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