By TESFA-Alem TEKLE
December 20, 2019
(ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopia on Friday successful launched its first ever satellite to space through the support of China.
The launch took place at around 7:02 am local time from a satellite launch station located around 400 kilometers away from Beijing.
Footage on Ethiopia’ national television showed the satellite soaring long into the sky.
High-level government officials have witnessed the launch of the satellite Live on national TV, from a command and control center in Ethiopia at the Entoto space observatory facility, East Africa’s only space observatory facility.
Named ETRSS-1, Ethiopia will use its remote sensing micro satellite to monitor weather patterns resources and to forecast weather for better agricultural planning, to monitor drought early warning system and forestry management.
The satellite is a 72 kg Multi-Spectral Remote Sensing Satellite, built at a cost of USD 8 million through the support from the Chinese government.
The satellite was launched as a result of a collaboration between Ethiopian and Chinese engineers.
Today’s launch of ETRSS-1 is part of Ethiopia’s phase I of space development strategy.
According to Minister of Innovation and Technology, Getahun Mekuria, Ethiopia’s phase II space development project is expected to start in January 2020 which intends the construction of satellite manufacturing, assembly, integration and test (MAIT) facilities in the capital Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia has an ambitious plans of launching more navigation satellites in the years to come.
“Ethiopia is planning to launch 15 satellites in the next 10-15 years” Beza Tesfaye,General Manager of Ethiopian Space Science Society told Borkena.
Beza says once launched those satellites will will help Ethiopia save the money that it currently spends to get information from foreign-owned satellites.
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