by Staff Writers
Lagos (AFP) Nov 12, 2008
A Nigerian satellite hailed at its launch last year as the vanguard of an African communications revolution has failed and cannot be recovered, officials said on Wednesday.
The satellite -- which was launched to provide phone, broadband Internet and broadcasting services to rural Africa -- was switched off last week due to a battery charging problem.
"We don't think we can recover it," a spokeswoman of the satellite's managing firm, Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSat), told AFP.
On Tuesday the head of NigComSat Ahmed Rufai told lawmakers in the administrative capital Abuja that efforts to recover power supply had failed.
"The satellite was subsequently de-orbited to avoid total loss of power and control which would result in damages to other satellites in orbit or even aircrafts," Rufai was quoted as saying by local dailies.
"The satellite has now been manoeuvred to the parking orbit and cannot be recovered for use again," he said.
The 257-million-dollar (205-million-euro) Chinese-built satellite was launched into space from China in May 2007.
Representatives of the Chinese manufacturer are expected in the country on Thursday, the spokeswoman added.
It was expected to boost Nigeria's communications' revolution and further the drive to make internet technology accessible to the remote rural villages of the continent.
NIGCOMSAT-1 was also used for intelligence and security surveillance and for other sectors such as the oil and gas industry.
With an expected life span of 15 years, it was designed to operate in Africa, parts of the Middle East and Asia. Nigeria also launched a weather satellite in 2003 with Russian assistance.
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com
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