Assessing Significance: Nigerian Space Programme #3

I finally completed my directed study last week! :)

The last part of my research was assessing the significance of the sites, artefacts and places and producing a statement of significance for each of them. I used the Australian Burra Charter to do this and its associated headings of scientific, historic, aesthetic and social value.

I have put a few reasons for why I found these sites, artefacts and places important below. There is much more to it however. If you’re interested you may find a copy of my study in the Flinders Library at some point.

So, I found that the six Nigerian Space Centres (dedicated to furthering education and space technologies) are historically significant for reasons like:

• They represent Nigeria’s determination to free itself from its problematic past through technological revolution and;

• All six of the centres have and will come to hold various artefacts that may be looked upon as historical objects associated with the programme at some time in the future.

I also assessed the significance of NigeriaSat-1 (Nigeria’s first satellite – part of a disaster monitoring constellation).

The social significance I found attached to NigeriaSat-1 was that:

• The successful launch of the satellite has come to be embraced by many Nigerian people as a central focus of national sentiment and pride: ‘”It makes me proud to be a Nigerian”’, said Prosper Sunday, a 27-year-old security guard in Lagos. “It shows our nation is progressing, we’ve joined the space age”’.

Lastly, I assessed NigComSat-1 (Nigeria’s second satellite).

I found it to hold social significance as:

• Popular terms for explaining the NigComSat-1 project by the Nigerian community became ‘debacle’ and ‘white elephant in space’, whilst one newspaper joked that ‘Nigeria has exported its electricity generation problems into space’. The satellite, unlike NigeriaSat-1 became a disappointment for many Nigerians who were left wondering why the government had spent so much money, and if in fact they had benefited from the project at all.

So that is my final blog about my directed study! This arvo I’m giving a presentation on my findings. I will tell you all about how this went next time!

Julia Garnaut

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