(Cooperative Information Network)

National Space Research and Development Agency

I n September 2003, Nigeria launched its first earth observation satellite called the Nigeriasat 1, with the goal of utilizing space technology to develop the socio-economic wellbeing of its citizens. This historic achievement paved the way for the country's journey towards utilizing space technology and its spinoff to research into earth processes, all in the hands of Nigerian scientists.

However, launching the satellite was just the beginning of the process, as maintaining the status quo and utilizing the space-derived products required undivided attention. In 1995, the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) established the first Advanced Space Technology Applications Laboratory in the southwest geopolitical zone, called Advanced Space Technology Applications Laboratory SouthWest - ASTALSW (formerly COPINE), on the campus of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.

The laboratory was mandated to utilize space-derived products to conduct research geared towards the socio-economic development of the nation in key areas such as the environment, natural disasters, urban expansion, food security, and more.

To achieve these goals, ASTAL-Southwest embarked on relevant projects such as the production of land use/land cover datasets for policymakers, flood vulnerability research, and generating datasets to manage security issues at the western borderline. Additionally, COPINE vectorized relevant archived maps, including the 1:50,000 national topographical maps.

ASTAL-Southwest has grown to become a one-stop-shop for the provision of space-derived products, which serve as the backbone for various research and baselines for making informed decisions about the management of the earth's resources. Looking forward, while seeking collaboration with relevant institution, ASTAL-Southwest will continue to provide relevant space-derived products to support the nation's development goals.