ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia- Ethiopia has launched its first ever satellite today from the Chinese Space Center.The remote sensing satellite called Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite – 01 (ETRSS – 01) was built in China.
Ethiopia’s Innovation and Technology Minister Getahun Mekuria in November told reporters the satellite will be used for agricultural, mining, environmental protection and earth observatory purposes.
The Satellite is expected to monitor weather patterns for better agricultural planning, drought early warning and forestry management,
Before dawn on Friday, senior officials and citizens gathered at the Entoto Observatory and Research Centre just north of the capital Addis Ababa to watch a live broadcast of the satellite’s launch from a space station in China.
“This will be a foundation for our historic journey to prosperity,” deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen said in a speech at the launch event broadcast on state television.
The satellite was designed by Chinese and Ethiopian engineers and the Chinese government paid about $6m of the more than $7m manufacturing costs, Solomon Belay, director-general of the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, told Reuters News Agency.
Another eight satellites were put into orbit by the same rocket, including an Earth observation satellite jointly developed by China and Brazil as part of a bilateral programme, which is seen as a template for broader cooperation among both countries as well as Russia, India and South Africa.
The China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite-4A was launched on a Long March-4B rocket in the northern Chinese province of Shanxi, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The satellite was the sixth developed based on the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS) programme that began in 1988. The satellites are designed for Earth observation from orbit for non-military use.
The CBERS-4A will support the Brazilian government’s monitoring of the Amazon rainforest and changes in the country’s environment, according to Xinhua.