Ethiopia has just launched its first ever satellite into space. The Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite-1, or ERSS-1, is a big step by Ethiopia which has really stepped up its space exploration agenda in recent years. It was led by a team of 16 male and 5 female Ethiopian scientists. The historic launch moment was captured live on Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation.
The satellite was designed and built by Chinese engineers at a cost of $8 million dollars, with China paying about $6 million. The Ethiopian satellite was launched into space by a Chinese rocket on Friday, 20 December 2019. This was done by a Long March 4B rocket (CZ-4B) from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China. However, the satellite’s command and control center will be based at the Entoto Observatory and Space Science Research Center (EORC) in Ethiopia, which is part of the Ethiopian Space, Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI).
The Ethiopian remote sensing satellite weighs 70 kilograms and will be used to collect environmental and weather data. This information will help Ethiopia to plan better agricultural practices, as well as early warning for drought, mining and forestry management. The satellite will operate from space around 700 kilometers above the surface of earth. This makes Ethiopia the sixth country in Sub-Saharan Africa to have its own satellite in the earth’s orbit.
Featured Image Courtesy: Quartz