Come next year, Ethiopia should be joining the exclusive club of African nations that have sent satellites into space. The Eastern African nation is slated to send a satellite into space sometime in September next year with the help of China.
The Ethiopian satellite is meant to help the nation track environmental changes. That is according to the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI).
“The main mission of this space satellite is to monitor climate change and assess environmental issues such as proper application of water resources, mining activities, and other activities related to environmental purposes,” said Solomon Belay Tessema, the Director General of ESSTI.
It is from tracking climate change that Ethiopia will be able to make informed decisions with regards to adapting to a heating climate. That entails finding new farming methods that will ensure that the country is food secure even though weather patterns keep getting worse for traditional farming practices.
Currently, the main source for weather information is from US-owned satellites. Though the information come at no cost, they are given in low resolution, which is not adequate to make a thoroughly informed decision. If a country wants a high-resolution image of their landscape from the space, they need to pay the US-based owners of the satellites hefty sums.
It is for that reason that Ethiopia and other developing countries are opting to send their own satellites into space. The long-term cost will be much more affordable compared to relying on the US satellites for the information.
Other African countries with Satellites in Space
Ethiopia joins the exclusive club of African nations with satellites in space. A club that includes Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt.
The Ethiopian satellite will be built by engineers fro Ethiopia but will be launched in China. The Chinese will provide a lot of hand into the project, including a $6 million cheque for the training for the engineers in matters satellite development, deployment, and running.
Ethiopia, like most countries in Africa, is an agrarian economy. That means any changes in the weather could lead to food insecurity. Something that could easily jeopardize the national security of the country. With the satellite up in space, Ethiopia will have unlimited access to information about the weather and be in a position to inform farmers on expected future weather patterns. Hence, the farmers could plant crops they know have better chances of surviving the upcoming weather season.