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FUTA participates in global satellite project in Japan

Niger’S quest to launch itself into space got a major fillip in Japan on Wednesday, February 8, as a researcher from the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) took part in the Joint Global Multi-Nation Satellite Project christened ‘BIRDS Project.’

It is a cross-border interdisciplinary satellite project for non-space-faring countries supported by Japan, with Nigeria, Ghana, Mongolia, Bangladesh as well as Thailand and Taiwan as participating countries.

FUTA participated to represent Nigeria in the two-year project, where postgraduate students designed, assembled, tested and operated five  units of identical 1U CubeSats belonging to the four participating countries, and to be operated from seven ground stations, including FUTA, to form, for the first time, a constellation of five CubeSats operated using seven networked ground stations.

Mr. Ibukun Adebolu of the Department of Mechanical Engineering was the representative of FUTA on the project in Japan, along with 15 other students from six of the seven participating countries from the Graduate School of Engineering of Kyushu Institute of Technology (KYUTECH), Japan.

The project is being implemented with the guidance of four faculty members under the leadership of Professor Mengu Cho. The deputy vice chancellor (Academics) led the FUTA delegation to Japan to participate in the event.

Two other representatives from FUTA are the director, Centre for Space Research and Applications (CESRA), Professor S. O. Akinyede, and Dr. Olurotimi Dahunsi of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Participating researchers are expected to replicate the launch in their countries of origin through support from the JGMNB.

The vice chancellor, Professor Adebiyi Daramola, described the event as epochal, saying that it puts an icing on the cake of his internationalisation agenda for the university.

“When the projects objective is finally realised, FUTA will be the first university in Nigeria to have built and launched a satellite.

This is the first time a satellite will be built from scratch and launched by Nigerian manpower. We are proud as an institution to set the pace in pioneering the launch of satellite in the country by universities,” he said.