Nigeria successfully launched two Earth observation satellites on Wednesday on board a Dnepr rocket From Yasny, Russia, to boost African capabilities for natural resource management and help disaster relief.

The SSTL's NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X satellites, which were built under contract with the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), will give Nigeria the ability to perform monthly crop monitoring, help with increasing urban planning demands through the development of engineering skill, and advance the growth of new technologies in the African country, a press release stated.

"The completion of this significant engineering project is testament to the success of the rapidly growing UK space industry," Science Minister David Willetts said in a statement. "Not only are we producing technology and services that are in global demand but we are also helping more countries use satellite imagery to tackle important issues, including urban development and disaster relief."

NigeriaSat-2 is said to be one of the most advanced Earth observation small satellites launched. It will provide high-resolution (2.5-metres) images.

Under a 3-year training and development programme, 26 Nigerian engineers worked together with SSTL engineers in Guildford, to assemble the accompanying 100-kilogram NigeriaSat-X, the press release stated.

"We congratulate the Nigerian Government on the advancement of their Earth Observation capability," said SSTL's Executive Chairman Sir Martin Sweeting in a statement. "STL's training programs give testimony to space being a truly international endeavor. Continuing to change the economics of space, SSTL prides itself in providing highly capable and affordable spacecraft for our customers' operational needs."

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan praised the successful launch and called the event "another milestone in our nation's effort to solve national problems through space technology," according to the BBC.