Ethiopia has joined the space race and is planning to launched its first $8 million satellite in September 2019

The satellite, which costs $8 million, is set to gather data inputs related to water, agriculture, climate change, and environmental protection.

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  • The East African nation has announced that it will be launching its first satellite into space in September 2019.
  • China has offered $6 million in financial support and will provide training and the cost of launching the satellite, which will be done from China.

The East African nation has announced that it will be launching its first satellite into space in September 2019 .

“Our main goals by launching this first satellite are two. The first one is [to] 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,” said Dr. Solomon Belay Tessema, Senior Scientist and Director General of Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute at the Addis Ababa University.

According to media reports, China has offered $6 million in financial support and will provide training and the cost of launching the satellite, which will be done from China.

“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,” Tessema added.

As 2019 draws near, already a group of Ethiopian engineers are being trained for the D day.

Currently, 20 Ethiopian engineers are involved in the launching and design of the country’s first satellite.

“We use home-based strategy, which involves local engineers and students at MA and Ph.D.-level to be part of the science and applications of the technology and knowledge transfer,” said Tessema.

Ethiopia now joins a number of other African countries that have already have satellites orbiting the space.

The most recent was Kenya, which launched its first locally produced satellite into orbit in May 2018.

South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt are some of the African countries with satellites orbiting the earth, with three of them launched in 2017 alone.

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