Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin could soon launch Nigeria's 1st-ever space tourist

 A white rocket launches into a blue sky.
Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket lifts with the NS-21 crew from Launch Site One in West Texas on Saturday, June 4, 2022. | Credit: Blue Origin

A Nigerian could soon make it to space for the first time ever, via Jeff Bezos' aerospace company Blue Origin.

The Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA), a U.S. for-profit company, has guaranteed that one of the six seats for an upcoming flight of Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital vehicle will go to a Nigerian, Semafor reports.

SERA chose Nigeria as part of its initiative to assist citizens of nations who have historically lacked access to space. The development follows Blue Origin and SERA partnering up in April to fly people on New Shephard tourist flights.

The Nigerian government signed a memorandum of understanding with SERA, according to the state-backed Voice of Nigeria.

Mathew Adepoju, director-general of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), praised the development.

"Not many nations in Africa dreamt of having a space program, but today, NASRDA is the only space agency in Africa whose activities cover the entire space," Adepoju said, according to Voice of Nigeria.

Selection will be open and democratic, with Nigerians given the opportunity to select candidates.


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"The process of the application will be open to anybody in Nigeria who is over 18 years of age. There are no other qualifications required. You will be able to sign up and encourage others to vote for you," Voice of Nigeria quoted SERA co-founder Joshua Skurla as saying.

Nigeria has a modest space sector but has a number of satellites in orbit, built and launched by other nations. NASRDA has stated that the nation's objectives include developing indigenous capabilities in satellite technology and utilizing space technology for sustainable development, as well as getting involved in human spaceflight.