Ethiopia launches first satellite into space that will help the country gather agriculture data

Ethiopia's first satellite was sent into space on Friday to help the nation gather agricultural data in a project that has been financially supported by China throughout.

A Chinese Long March 4B rocket hoisted the first Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite (ETRSS-1) aloft from the Taiyuan space base in northern China.

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.

In 2018, the British government donated £301 million in aid to the country, which was funnelled into humanitarian, civic, infrastructural and multi-sector projects.

The 154-pound satellite was developed by the Chinese Academy of Space Technology with the help of 21 Ethiopian scientists, according to the specialist website africanews.space.

It will send back data of the environment and weather patterns in the Horn of Africa -- a boon for a country dependent on agriculture and forestry and vulnerable to flood, drought and other climate perils.

'This will be a foundation for our historic journey to prosperity,' Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen said in a speech.

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.

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

Source: Daily Mail