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Ethiopia gives green light for Friday launch

The space satellite, which will be launched from China, will be used for agricultural transformation, forest resource monitoring, weather forecast as well as infrastructure development.

Ethiopia’s first satellite named ETRSS-1 is set to be launched on Friday around 6 am from China space station. The remote sensing satellite of Ethiopia was manufactured in collaboration with the Chinese government and Ethiopian engineers in China.

A team of Ethiopian government officials and journalists will be heading to China to witness the launch. Twenty Ethiopian engineers have been trained in China on how to process the data collected by the satellite, according to the Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia.

The space satellite will have its command and control center in Ethiopia at the Entoto space observatory facility, located on the 3,200-metre hills of Entoto on the outskirt of the capital Addis Ababa.

Commenting on the launch, Ethiopia Minister of Innovation and Technology Getahun Mekuria was quoted by Xinhua, as saying: “Ethiopia and China have strong multifaceted ties. As a showcase of these ties, Ethiopia’s first space satellite will be launched from China on December 20. This new Chinese-backed satellite will help Ethiopia save much-needed foreign currency that it currently spends to get information from foreign-owned satellites.”

Mekuria further said the space satellite named ETRSS-1 will be used for a range of activities including for agricultural transformation, forest resource monitoring, weather forecast, mining potential assessment, as well as infrastructure development and monitoring.