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Ethiopia to launch first satellite

Ethiopia’s first satellite will be launched into space in December this year with the technical help of the Chinese government. The launching of the satellite will be operated from a center located in China.

The Ethiopian president, Sahle-Work Zewde, mentioned the issue while addressing to the House of Federation and the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives joint meeting back in early October.

This developed satellite, which is a 70kg Multi-Spectral Remote Sensing known as ETRSS-1, has multi-faceted purposes towards the development activities of the country. The Ethiopia further envisages that the country’s satellite operation, once it commences its functions, would help the country’s efforts to modernize different sectoral developments.

Furthermore, the satellite will provide all the required data on changes in climate and weather-related phenomena that would be exploited for the country’s significant targets in forestry, agriculture as well as natural resources protections. In addition, this remote sensing satellite is fitted with a high resolution camera and expected to monitor different patterns for better agro-industry planning, early warning for drought management and for a better forestry management as well. It will further gather information on extractive industries that benefits Ethiopia’s mining sector.

Of course, the satellite, which is organized to be launched from Far East in China, will definitely be in command of a center located in Ethiopia. The control will be in Addis Ababa space observatory facility located at mount entoto.  Mount entoto is a very historical mountain in Ethiopia where Emperor Menelik II resided and built his palace and founded Addis Ababa. It is also a mountain that has many monasteries and celebrated churches that includes Saint Raguel and Saint Mary. The Entoto space observatory facility is East Africa’s only space observatory facility situated on this 3,200 meter strategic location on the outskirt of the Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

The assignment of developing the satellite was considered as a serious business by Ethiopia and its officials had also visited the China Academy of Space Technology to inspect this 70kg Multi-Spectral Remote Sensing Satellite – ETRSS-1.  Even they paid a visit through a stay in China while attended the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation last April in Beijing.

Step by step, Ethiopia aspires to design, construct and launch satellite by its own and preparing professionals for this vision. As part of this effort, Ethiopian engineers are trained on how to manage and process the data collected by the satellite and related matters. Nowadays, as a nation is spending huge foreign currency for satellite renting, it is aspiring to build own satellite in the coming three to four years time.  Feasibility study have finalized on how the country generates foreign currency by providing satellite services to neighboring African countries.

On the launching event in China, a team that comprises Ethiopian government officials, journalists and other invited guests are expected attend.


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