Ethiopia is set to launch its first earth observatory satellite into space in 2019.
The innovative Africa nation announced it would launch its first earth observatory satellite in Sept. 2019, with China footing much of the bill. Officials from both governments’ space agencies met both in August and November (in Amharic) to advance talks on technological transfer and sign cooperative agreements on space activities.
“The satellite will be launched from China while the control and command station will be in Ethiopia. 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.
Reports suggest that the satellite was developed and built at the cost of around $8 million. China will pay for $6 million of the capsule’s price which will also cover training.
“Our main goals by launching this first satellite are two. 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 is the direct support the first satellite gives to the social and economic development in terms of saving the money the country is currently spending for buying data, such as climate data,” Dr. Solomon stated.
Ethiopia is also expected to collaborate with universities and observatory centres from around the world including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, South Korea, Chile and South Africa on this programme.
Ethiopia will join seven other African countries that have built and launched satellites. They are South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria, Morocco, and Kenya – which launched its satellite earlier this year.
Angola also launched its first satellite in December 2017 but lost it four months later. Russia, which built the communication satellite, is building another one for the country which is expected to be launched in 2020.
Source: QuartzAfrica, TheEastAfrican