• D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG
rotating globe
  • D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
Semafor Logo
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG


Updated Jun 20, 2024, 7:48am EDT
africa

US firm plans to fly first Nigerian to space on Bezos rocket

SERA
PostEmailWhatsapp

In this article:

Title icon

The News

LAGOS — An American space venture has begun a process that aims to fly the first Nigerian to space with Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space exploration company.

Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA), a US for-profit company, has an initiative to increase flights for citizens of countries with little or no space footprint. Its first milestone was flying Brazil’s second-ever astronaut to space in June 2022. SERA’s next mission will fly six people to space on an upcoming Blue Origin New Shepard flight — and one seat is guaranteed to go to a Nigerian.

A public online voting process will select the Nigerian for the mission, SERA’s co-founders Sam Hutchison and Joshua Skurla told Semafor Africa. Any healthy adult resident with basic English language speaking abilities can nominate themselves for the mission. They will need to canvass votes from the public to boost their chances. Votes will be verified using a blockchain system to ensure a fair selection process, the founders said.

AD

SERA chose Nigeria to be part of its next mission because it is “an emerging space nation” on an early development curve of what it wants to accomplish, Skurla said. Nigeria’s status as one of Africa’s largest countries and the presence of a strong media culture also counted in its favor, he said.

In this article:

Title icon

Know More

Joshua Skurla; astronaut Victor Espanha; Nigerian minister Uche Godfrey Nnaji; and Sam Hutchison — SERA

The company signed a partnership agreement with Nigeria’s National Space Research and Development Agency on Wednesday to amplify the opportunity and collaborate on science experiments that will be performed by the mission crew in space.

Commenting on the SERA partnership, Nigeria’s innovation and science minister Uche Godfrey Nnaji said sending people to space was not a “random aspiration” but a “major objective”.

AD

Nigeria has launched six satellites since 2003 but there are avenues for more commercial activity in a new space age featuring ambitious programs by emerging economies like India, Hutchison said.

Phil Joyce, a Blue Origin senior vice president overseeing the New Shepard program, said the mission that will fly a Nigerian to space will “inspire the next generation of space explorers.”

Title icon

Notable

  • Kenya hopes its space program can gather data to combat challenges including climate change, food shortages, and insecurity.



Semafor Logo
AD