Open main menu

NigComSat-1 was a Nigerian communication satellite. The initial contract to build the satellite was signed in 2004. It became the third African geosynchronous communication satellite, when it was launched at 16:01 UTC on 13 May 2007, aboard a Chinese Long March 3B carrier rocket, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China. The spacecraft was operated by Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd (NIGCOMSAT). On November 11, 2008, NigComSat-1 failed in orbit after running out of power due to an anomaly in its solar array.

Mission typeCommunication
COSPAR ID2007-018A
SATCAT no.31395Edit this on Wikidata
Mission durationPlanned: 15 years
Achieved: 18 months
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass5,150 kilograms (11,350 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date13 May 2007, 16:01 (2007-05-13UTC16:01Z) UTC
RocketLong March 3B
Launch siteXichang
End of mission
Last contact11 November 2008 (2008-11-12)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Longitude42.5° East[1]
Perigee altitude35,782 kilometres (22,234 mi)[1]
Apogee altitude35,789 kilometres (22,238 mi)[1]
Inclination0.1 degrees[1]
Period24 hours



The satellite, which is the third Nigerian satellite to be placed into orbit, was launched into a geosynchronous transfer orbit and subsequently it was successfully inserted into a geosynchronous orbit, positioned at 42.5oE. It had a launch mass of 5,150 kg, and had an expected service life of 15 years.


It was based on the Chinese DFH-4 satellite bus, and carries a variety of transponders:

Its design was to provide coverage to many parts of Africa on C-band and Ku-band, a global navigation beam on L-band and the Ka-band transponders with spot beams over Nigeria, South Africa and Europe.

China's satellite export businessEdit

NigcomSat-1 represented a milestone for China's satellite export business. For the first time the China Great Wall Industry Corporation provided all aspects of in-orbit delivery of a satellite to an international customer. This included satellite manufacture, launch services, ground station construction, project financing, insurance and training.[2]

Failure and replacementEdit

On 10 November 2008 (0900 UTC), the satellite was reportedly switched off for analysis and to avoid a possible collision with other satellites. According to Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, it was put into "emergency mode operation in order to effect mitigation and repairs".[3] The satellite eventually failed after losing power on 11 November 2008.

On March 24, 2009, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, NigComSat Ltd. and CGWIC signed a further contract for the in-orbit delivery of the NigComSat-1R satellite. NigComSat-1R also uses the DFH-4 satellite platform with improvements over the previous satellite, and was delivered in the fourth quarter of 2011 as a replacement for the failed NigComSat-1. It was successfully launched on December 19, 2011.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Encyclopedia Astronautica - CZ-3B Archived 2008-03-19 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "CGWIC News". CGWIC.
  3. ^ "'Technical problems' shut down Nigerian satellite". AFP. 2008-11-12. Archived from the original on 2011-01-04.
  4. ^

External linksEdit