Conceived by Africans across the continent and from the diaspora, with major support from the World Bank Institute (WBI), AUST was established in 2007 as a regional initiative led by the Nelson Mandela Institution (NMI, Inc.). NMI's goal was and remains the creation of world class research and advanced training institutes in relevant scientific and technological disciplines which would serve as regional resources and centres of excellence in sub-Saharan Africa. The Secretariat is currently hosted in Nigeria but the NMI centres are spread evenly across the continent, in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Tanzania and South Africa.
The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology was established in May 1999 with a board objective to pursue the development and application of space science technology for the socio-economic benefits of the Nation. The Federal Government in May 2001 approved the National Space Policy and Programmes, thus creating an enabling environment for the actualization of the nation’s space agenda. On 27th August 2010, the President and Commander in Chief of Nigeria, formally signed into law the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) Act 2010. The Act also empowered the Space Council as the regulatory authority for space science and technology activities in Nigeria.