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How you can become the first Nigerian to travel to space — it can be anybody

You don't have to be a scientist, mathematician, engineer, or any other specific discipline, to qualify.

Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin will fly the mission [Blue Origin]

Nigeria has been unable to send a human being to space 63 years after Yuri Gagarin became the first man to journey there successfully.

Even a plan, which was part of a 25-year roadmap, to locally launch a satellite to space by 2025 was recently abandoned due to financial and capacity issues.

The part about sending a human to space may be about to change, even if it's not an exclusive Nigerian operation. On Wednesday, June 19, 2024, the Federal Government signed an agreement with the Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA), a United States company, to send the first Nigerian to space.

In April 2024, the agency had announced a partnership with Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin, an aerospace manufacturer, to develop a human spaceflight programme to foster inclusivity for nations who have historically lacked access to space. The programme provides an opportunity for regular citizens of these countries to make groundbreaking spaceflights.

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SERA reserved six seats to allocate to partner nations on a future Blue Origin New Shepard spaceflight, and Nigeria has now acquired one of those seats.

The process to become the first Nigerian in space is pretty straightforward. From what we know so far, here's how it will work:

  1. The application is open to any Nigerian older than 18 years. You don't have to be a scientist, mathematician, engineer, or any other specific discipline.
  2. You will be able to sign up online, but a registration date has not been announced yet.
  3. The process will be in stages after which four finalists will be selected. There will be a public voting phase that allows Nigerians vote for who will become the first person from the country to travel to space.
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It's still unclear when the suborbital spaceflight will happen. Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket typically takes passengers to the edge of space.

This is how the company describes the experience, "New Shepard astronauts ascend toward space at more than three times the speed of sound. They pass the Kármán line, the internationally recognised boundary of space 62 miles (100 km) above Earth, before unbuckling to float weightless and gaze at our planet. The crew returns gently under parachutes, forever changed."

A similar SERA initiative facilitated the spaceflight of Victor Hespanha, a Brazilian civil engineer, in 2022. He captured his experience in space.

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Here's how the entire mission went.

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