CAPE TOWN (South Africa), October 3 (Itar-Tass) —— The 62nd International Astronautical Congress will open here on Monday to discuss new ways of Earth monitoring from space. More than 2,000 people, including the chiefs of the national space agencies, astronauts, scientists, writers and journalists, will also discuss the involvement of the developing countries in space research, the use of advanced materials and technologies, the problems of legal regulation in this sphere.
The Russian delegation headed by the chief of the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) Vladimir Popovkin is participating in the forum with the theme of African Astronaissance.
The International Astronautical Federation together with the International Academy of Astronautics and the International Institute of Space Law hold annual International Astronautical Congresses. Africa hosts the congress for the first time. Africa shows a growing interest in space research and the launches of satellites for Earth observation from space. The latest UN General Assembly session supported the intentions of the developing countries to explore the outer space for the security of the humankind and environment. The European Space Agency is about to launch a program to use the telecommunications satellites for distant medical consultations in African remote villages.
Russian boosters have recently orbited two Nigerian satellites – NigeriaSat-X and NigeriaSat-2, which Nigerian space engineers designed and produced. The Russian launch vehicle has earlier put into orbit the South African satellite SumbandilaSat.
Nigeria is seeking to take a dominating position in the space exploration among African countries, Director General of the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency Seidu Onailo Mohammed said. Mohammed spent his childhood in a so poor family that they cannot afford themselves to buy a TV set and when a US astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon in 1969, he listened to the radio footage of the event. Nigeria is competing with the South African Republic, Algeria and with Ghana recently in the space exploration.
The highlight of the congress is expected to be a presentation of a new US space vehicle Orion, which is positioned as a multi-purpose crew vehicle designed for the missions to asteroids and on the Mars. NASA is planning to launch Orion by Russian boosters Soyuz. The first Orion unmanned mission is scheduled for 2017.