Ethiopia celebrates launch of first satellite

accreditation
Satellite in space. File Photo.
Satellite in space. File Photo.
Getty Images

Ethiopia launched its first satellite on Friday, a landmark achievement for the country's space programme 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, though scores of Ethiopian and Chinese officials and scientists gathered at the Entoto Observatory and Research Centre outside the capital, Addis Ababa, early Friday to watch a live broadcast.

"This will be a foundation for our historic journey to prosperity," Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen said in a speech. "This technological infrastructure is important even if it's delayed."

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

"We can say that 2019 is pretty much the best year in the history of the African space industry," Oniosun said.

 PICS | SA's MeerKAT observes first image of Milky Way-like galaxies responsible for star formation

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

All told, 41 African satellites have now been launched -- 38 from individual countries and three more that were multilateral efforts, Oniosun said.

None of those launches has taken place from African soil.

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.

China covered most of the $8 million cost of the satellite, according to an official involved in Ethiopia's space programme who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to disclose details of the project.

The space programme was originally championed by private individuals who formed the Ethiopian Space Science Society in 2004.

The government established the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute in 2016.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Matric results are out! Are you happy with your child's result?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No, the pandemic really messed up their ability to focus
35% - 144 votes
Yes, they did well given the circumstances
65% - 273 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.10
+0.9%
Rand - Pound
20.46
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.13
+0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.85
-0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.1%
Gold
1,834.71
0.0%
Silver
24.29
0.0%
Palladium
2,111.50
0.0%
Platinum
1,034.00
0.0%
Brent Crude
87.89
-0.6%
Top 40
68,186
-2.1%
All Share
74,835
-1.9%
Resource 10
74,924
-3.0%
Industrial 25
94,147
-1.8%
Financial 15
15,076
-0.2%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE