Interview: Ethiopia seeks enhanced space science cooperation with China
ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia seeks to boost space science cooperation with China to forge a long term partnership, an Ethiopian official said Monday.
Speaking exclusively to Xinhua, Solomon Belay, Director General of Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI), said Ethiopia and China are working to create a long-term partnership ranging from training programs for Ethiopian space engineers to assisting Ethiopia with launching space satellites.
"Ethiopia has strategic cooperation in space science sector with China, as part of a multifaceted cooperation between the two countries. Chinese assistance in space science sector has helped Ethiopia achieve significant technological and economic leaps including the launch of the east African country's first space satellite," said Belay.
Last December, Ethiopia launched its first ever satellite to space through the support of China. The satellite is currently collecting vital data on agriculture, environment and mining-related information.
Once the data is sent to the earth ground station, it will be analyzed to be used for a range of activities, including agricultural transformation, forest resource monitoring, weather forecast, mining potential assessment, as well as infrastructure development and monitoring.
Once fully operational, the satellite is expected to save Ethiopia around 350 million birr (about 11 million U.S. dollars) annually it currently spends to receive information from satellites owned by other countries.
"Chinese assistance in space science, through joint space related researches and projects will help Ethiopia achieve significant technological and economic development," the official said, who also revealed that in the near future, China is expected to help Ethiopia build a continental satellite data receiver station, which can receive and disseminate space information across the African continent.
Belay said with Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa home to the African Union (AU) Headquarter, the continental satellite data receiver station will be ideally placed to disseminate information to various African countries.
Already there are plans to realize the continental satellite data receiver station in the next three years, in collaboration with China, Belay told Xinhua.