The Ethiopian government is set to design, construct and launch the country's first satellite into space, according to Debretsion Gebremichael (Ph.D.), Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Cluster and minister of Communications and Information Technology. The minister told parliamentarians on Tuesday that the satellite will be primarily used for communication purposes and, if all goes according to plan, the satellite will be launched in a matter of two years.
“It is not something that is going to happen overnight since it requires proper financing and human resource,” Debretsion told Mps.
Once everything is finalized the launch will take place outside of Ethiopia, he added.
According to the website of the Ethiopian Space Science Society, the ET-SAT, a small satellite (CubeSat,) is set to become the first satellite by an Ethiopian institution.
During a meeting held at Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT,) of Addis Ababa University (AAU,) back in August 2012, AAiT’S deputy scientific director and QB-50’S ET-SAT project principal investigator, Dr/Eng. Getahun Mekuria announced that the proposal for ET-SAT has been pre selected by the QB50 project office, the Von Karman Institute (VKI,) BrusselsBelgium, among 71 proposals from 38 countries, the website read.
The principal investigator further stated that ET-SAT is to be designed and constructed by the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT) team with the aim of carrying out lower thermosphere research and to teach youngsters about satellite technology.
Fifty CubeSat are to be constructed and launched by universities and institutes all over the world under a project named QB50 and AAiT is the only institute in Africa to be pre-selected up to now.
“The government has an intention to consider building a communication satellite and hence it is necessary to develop a roadmap that charts the various milestones that capture our vision and the current intended project. Furthermore, to bring all stakeholders of this intervention, organizing a workshop would be an essential first step,” Debretsion said at the meeting.
By Yohannes Anberbir