News & Conflicts

Ethiopia will launch its first satellite in 2019. But with the help of China.

China Everywhere. But that’s not the focus for today so let’s remain guided. Ethiopia seems to be on a buzz, from electing a young progressive Prime Minister Abiy and it’s first female President, Sahle-Work Zewde. Now it’s planning to launch first earth observatory satellite in September 2019. The satellite will be launched from China while the control and command station will be in Ethiopia. LOL, like that means something.

Most preliminary and critical design is done by our scientists,” says Dr. Solomon Belay Tessema, Senior Scientist and Director General of Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute at the Addis Ababa University (they have that too!). Ethiopia says it has two main goals for the space initiative. The first one is build technology application capacity and skills of our engineers through collaborations with different countries’ space scientists and institutions. So that they will be in a position to design, build and launch the second satellite independently. The second one as the institute’s DG stated: ‘the main focus of Ethiopia’s first satellite will be to gather data inputs related to water, agriculture, climate change, and environmental protection.’ Currently, there are 20 Ethiopian engineers involved in the launching and design of the first satellite.

China has provided six million dollars in financial support, in addition to training and launching cost.

In addition to the 20 Ethiopian space engineers, currently, there are some 60 Ph.D. and MA students at the Addis Ababa University Space Science and Technology Institute, which is teaching them in collaboration with Entoto Observatory and Research Center and many universities from across the world. Astronomy and Astrophysics, Space Science ad Application, Remote Sensing ad Geodesy are the four major areas the students are currently studying. Students from other African countries such as Rwanda and Tanzania are also among the students.

Reports show that in Africa, South Africa and Algeria have already launched their own communication satellite to the orbit so far, while Egypt has ordered one being assembled at the Airbus Assembly in Toulouse. Ghana is also said to be currently developing its own satellite.



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