Ethiopia is set to design, construct and launch the country's first satellite into space. Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Cluster and minister of Communications and Information Technology Debretsion Gebremichael told parliamentarians on Tuesday that 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,” he said. The satellite will be launched outside of Ethiopia.
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 to be designed, constructed and launched to space.
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.
He 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.In order to start the construction of ET-SAT, AAiT has to sign a contractual agreement with VKI after ensuring the availability of funding for the project.
QB50 would allow 50 double and triple CubeSats to be constructed by universities and institutions all over the world and to be launched into space all together in the first half of 2015 in a single rocket. All 50 CubeSats will be launched out of Murmansk, situated in the Northern Russia, into a circular orbit at 320 km altitude, inclination 79° around the Earth.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 QB50 Project, a network of 50 small satellites in space, was approved by the European Commission on 15 January 2012.