The Canadian Governor-General, Ms. Julie Payette, has commended the Nigeria Space Research Development Agency (NASRDA) for sustaining the country’s space programme.  

She said technology should be used to break new grounds and noted that  in spite of all the work done, data from space remains indispensable.

Commenting on the NASRDA and the three Space ambassadors earlier introduced by the Minister of Science  and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Payette challenged them to study and work hard, so they can play major roles in Space in the future. The Space ambassadors were selected through a competitive examination in the Sciences, from primary, junior and senior secondary schools throughout the country by NASRDA.

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Daring the students in general, and the space ambassadors, in particular, Payette, an astronaut who had flown two missions to space said: “Maybe, you will come and work with them (NASRDA).

Maybe, you will fly in space or maybe, you will go and build hotels in space.

Maybe, some of you will join an astronaut programme and you will fly not only in space, but to another planet or to the moon, and help construct a base, a school or house.”

The Governor-General was speaking at NASRDA Conference Hall, to students selected from different primary and secondary schools in Abuja and other space enthusiasts, during her visit to the agency, recently.

She said: “We are here to witness a partnership with Nigeria in trade,  commerce,  innovation, technology and culture. We are supporting many programmes both in Abuja and Lagos, especially in youth, innovation and technology; three areas that Nigeria is well equipped in.”

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She later donated some of her personal mementoes from space to the NASRDA Space Museum.

Tracing the Canadian space programme to decades ago, she said they have satellites that senses and monitors; global positioning equipment and a human space programme with astronauts.

“Canada has a total of eight astronauts who have been in space and there are four upcoming young people and one of them is going to leave in December onboard Russian rocket,” she disclosed.

In his remarks, Onu said Payette’s  visit will not only help strengthen the relationship between Nigeria and Canada, but, also, help encourage young Nigerian girls and women to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

On his part, NASRDA’s Director-General, Prof. Seidu Mohammed, said Nigeria and Canada have been working together for several years. “Some of our junior colleagues here have done internship with Canadian Space Agency. Your Excellency, space creates a major platform for collaboration.

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Space has supported the world in creating new opportunities; looking at the health of crops and helping us to monitor climate change. We believe we have contributed more to human civilisation.”

Extolling the virtues of the Governor-General, Onu said: “Her Excellency is the best foreign head of state to visit this agency. You are one of the very few world leaders to have been in space and seen the marvelous view of earth.

Her Excellency is an extraordinary woman whose dreams have no limit and has successfully conquered the earth not through weapons but through knowledge. She moved away and returned to our planet not once but twice.