The Deputy General Director of Ethiopia Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI), Yishrun Alemayehu, confirmed the Horn of Africa nation successfully launched its second Chinese-backed satellite into space on Tuesday, Xinhua News Agency confirmed.
Named ET-Smart-RSS, the satellite, which was blasted into orbit from the China Wenchang spacecraft launch site, is equipped with highly advanced resolutions and has the capabilities to capture much clearer pictures, Alemayehu said.
“Preliminary design was conducted in Ethiopia, while detailed and technical works were undertaken in collaboration with Chinese experts in China through zooming and other platforms,” he told state-owned newspaper, the Ethiopian Herald. “The 8.9 kilograms nano satellite is a great achievement of Ethiopia in a number of ways. The institute will keep on working to further strengthen the effort in technology transfer and human development.”
Alemayehu also said the government of China paid about $1.5 million in manufacturing costs. The Horn of Africa nation successfully launched its first-ever satellite – the ETRSS-1 – into space in December 2019 in what the country’s space exploration chief said he hoped marked a new dawn in space technology opportunities in the country at the time.
The 72-kg multi-spectral satellite, which was also designed by both Chinese and Ethiopian engineers and is reportedly 700km from the earth, uses a remote sensing microsatellite to monitor weather patterns resources and to forecast the weather for the purposes of better agricultural planning, drought early warning, mining activities and forestry management, Xinhua News Agency reported.
Speaking to Reuters after the first launch, the head of the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, Solomon Belay, said he believes the satellite spells new opportunities for the East African powerhouse.
“Space is food, space is job creation, a tool for technology… sovereignty, to reduce poverty, everything for Ethiopian to achieve universal and sustainable development,” Belay said.
The Chinese government also sponsored about $6 million of the over $7 million project. Ethiopia plans to launch 15 satellites between the next 10-15 years.
The African Union has encouraged more African countries to look into the opportunities space technology provides for environmental and economic benefits.