Ethiopia has high hopes for remote sensing satellite
China has officially handed control of the Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite-1 (ETRSS-1) to the African country.
In November 2018, China and Ethiopia jointly announced plans to launch the East African country’s first satellite, an earth observatory satellite, in September 2019.
The goal of the ETRSS-1 satellite is to collect data on climate change, agriculture, forest and water resources and other related issues in Ethiopia, and improve research in Ethiopia.
ETRSS-1 weighs 65kg and is a multi-spectral wide-angle remote sensing satellite that is now being operated by the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute in Addis Ababa.
The first test images captured by the satellite were released in January 2020 and in August, the Institute began the commercial sales of imagery.
Prior to its official handover to the government of Ethiopia, the satellite had been tested until February 2020.
In early June 2019, media reports surfaced focused on scepticism over China’s role and its motives for providing US$6-million out of the project’s total sum of US$8-million,or 75% of the overall cost.
However, the satellite was eventually launched on 20 December 2019 as a secondary payload on a CZ-4B rocket from the Taiyuan Space Launch Centre in China.
In addition to the construction and launch of the satellite, the project encompassed the construction of a ground station at the Entoto space observatory, near Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa.
In December 2020, during a ceremony hosted by the China Academy of Space Technology in Beijing and attended by Ethiopia’s Ambassador to China, Teshome Toga and China’s vice minister for Ecology and Environment, Liu Hua, Ethiopia formally thanked China for the partnership regarding its space projects.
Ambassador Toga said Ethiopia is grateful to the government of China for relentlessly supporting the country’s aspirations to see a better future with the utilisation of advanced technology.