Historical Background of CSTP
The Centre for Space Transport and Propulsion (CSTP), Epe, Lagos, was established on the19th February, 2003, as one of the six activity Centres of National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Abuja. Nigeria. It is strategically situated along the Lagos lagoon in Epe, and in close proximity with the Lagos State University (LASU), Epe Engineering campus. The Centre is charged with the responsibility of conducting fundamental Research and Development (R&D) in space transport vehicles and propulsion system. This is to enable NASRDA acquire the launch capabilities of various satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO), and interplanetary space, by Nigerian scientists and engineers. CSTP policy, is aimed at complementing NASRDA policy statement at ensuring that Nigeria vigorously pursues the attainment of Space Capabilities as an essential tool for its socioeconomic development and the enhancement of the quality of life of its people. This policy is further explicit in the mandate of the Centre as listed.
Strategic Mandate of CSTP
- To acquire and establish adequate high-tech infrastructure in the country, facilitating the acquisition of scientific and technological know-how in aerospace transport and propulsion.
- To develop the engineering and scientific capability necessary to produce aerospace transport vehicles with rockets and aircrafts in mind.
- To develop and acquire the technology essential for manufacturing of the necessary components for space vehicles.
- To develop various types of propellants for rocket engines with attention on solid, liquid, and other forms of high-energy propulsion systems.
- To acquire and develop the capacity to fabricate and integrate rocket systems for short, and long-range peaceful application missions.
- To develop and construct rockets that will be needed to launch Nigerian made satellites before the lapse of 25 years road map, i.e., 2030.
Technical Divisions at CSTP & Activities
The major technical divisions and their activities at CSTP are presented in this section. Such activities, range from firmware, and software-based designs to actual flight tests of different rocket sizes. Some of the activities involved in these divisions are highlighted as follows:
1. Propulsion & Engine System (PES)
Under PES division, two distinct units exist. These are, Rocket Propellant and Rocket engines. In the former, CSTP has successfully designed, and used sugar-based low energy propellants as fuels for the low altitude rocket flights. The Rocket Engines Systems on the other hand, had in the past designed and constructed various sizes of rocket motors and these have been tested both statically and in flights.
2. Structural Integration Systems (SIS)
In this division, airframe design and integration of aerospace vehicle is carried out in the most scientific manner. Currently, this division has been saddled with the responsibility of designing fuselage for today and future rocket launches, using composite materials. Complete structural integration was done for a flight test in April, 2019. All components were designed and integrated at CSTP. The mobile rocket platform on which the rocket is positioned on was also designed locally for that purpose. Final verification and checks were carried out on the launch platform as part of the task by personnel from the safety & quality control division. Part of this division task is to ensure that the desired angle for the rocket launch is maintained before ignition of the rocket motor.
In this Division, there is a Recovery and Vibration System unit, whose major task is to design and fabricate the rocket recovery mechanism and ensure the recovery of the rocket structures after a successful launch. The unit also deals with the minimization of vibration effects on the entire rocket.
3. Electronics & Simulation Systems (ESS)
This division handles activities that has to do with Avionics and communication system of any aerospace vehicle. Amongst others, is the feat to manage the ground station located at CSTP office complex.
4. Project Division
This division co-ordinates all designs, manufacturing and test activities of the Centre and ensures proper documentation, project requirements, management, and timeline compliance. Under this division, Total quality management (TQM), and Safety units are embedded to handle manufacturing best practices and to ensure quality control in fabrication activities.
5. Manufacturing and Launch Services
This division includes the workshops and laboratories at the Centre. The division handles all manufacturing activities of the Centre. It also handles the Centre launch activities. All parts of the rockets are fabricated by the Centre technicians and Technologists.
6. Infrastructural Maintenance
The Division handles the day to day maintenance activities at the Centre. It also ensures proper running of the Centre facilities.