Mon, Sep 29, 2003
Maybe it was paid for by
all those folks who keep sending the e-mail in the Rule 419 system;
maybe it's UN (US) funds. Maybe it's all been put on someone's Visa
card. No matter; Nigeria's first satellite is on its way.
Saturday morning, a Russian-built Kosmos-3M (known during the
Cold War as an 'SS-5') blasted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome,
carrying six satellites. Two were Russian military satellites; and
one each belonged to the governments of Great Gritain, South Korea,
Turkey, and Nigeria.
Nigeria's $13 million satellite is designed to keep an eye on
that country's resources, both in and out of the ground. It will
keep a sharp eye on forest growth, cutting, disease and erosion;
and it's also good enough to be a useful tool in finding Nigeria's
oil thieves. Nigeria produces a lot of oil, but very little gets to
market through legitimate channels; literally tons are stolen every
day, as the oil is enroute in that country's pipelines.
Nigeria, one of the Earth's many poor nations, is hoping to get
a handle on just how its peoples' wealth is being managed and
stolen. Perhaps this new tool will inded pay for itself over its
projected five-to-seven year life. At least, the satellite is up
where nobody can steal it.
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