Ethiopia launches its first satellite

Launch of Ethiopia’s very first micro-satellite (ETRSS-1) launching ceremony at the Entoto Observatory on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa from where high ranking Ethiopian and Chinese officials monitored the launching process, Friday Dec. 20, 2019Ethiopia’s first-ever earth observatory satellite has launched into space from Shanxi Province in China. The satellite is hoped to help the east African nation gather data for agricultural, mining, environmental protection and earth observatory purposes(AP photo Mulugeta Ayene)

Ethiopia launched its first satellite today, a landmark achievement for the country’s space program that caps a banner year for the African space industry.

The launch of the Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite (ETRSS) took place at a space station in China. The live broadcast was watched by a group of Ethiopian and Chinese officials and scientists who had gathered at the Entoto Observatory and Research Centre outside the capital, Addis Ababa.

Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen said, this would be a foundation for their historic journey to prosperity. He said, this technological infrastructure was important even if delayed.

According to Temidayo Oniosun, managing director of Space in Africa, a Nigeria-based firm that tracks African space programs, this was the eighth launch of an African satellite this year, topping the previous record of seven in 2017.

The launch makes Ethiopia the eleventh African country to put a satellite into space. Egypt was the first in 1998.

Data provided by Ethiopia’s satellite is expected to paint a fuller picture of the country’s agriculture, forestry and mining resources and improve responses to flooding and other disasters.

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