Nigeria has signed a MOU with China to supply two communications satellites on a contract to build and launch into orbit. Reports suggest the total commitment is about $700 million for the pair.
The order is expected to be placed with China Great Wall Industry Corp (CGWIC) and its aerospace division which build satellites and uses the Long March rocket launch system. CGWIC is the sole commercial organisation approved by China’s government to provide satellites and launch services, and to undertake international space-based cooperation.
Nigeria Communication Satellite is Nigeria’s domestic satellite provider, although other international satellite operators also cover the nation. It both supplies satellite services in and over Nigeria, but also provides in-orbit management of other satellites. In December 2015, for example, it signed a major contract to provide satellite management services to Belarus for a 15-year period.
However, many observers had expected NigComSat to be privatised by the Nigerian government but this plan was scrapped back in February, at least for the time being.