ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia has hailed the launch on Friday of its first ever satellite, abbreviated as ETRSS-1, into space from China.
In a huge gathering at Entoto Space Observatory Facility on the hill of Entoto in the outskirt of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, including senior government officials, diplomats, space engineers, as well as other dignitaries and residents of Addis Ababa have attended the event organized to follow the launch of the satellite from China.
The 72 kg multi-spectral remote sensing satellite, and which is stationed in 700 km away from the earth, is expected to monitor the environment and weather patterns for better agricultural planning, drought early warning, mining activities and forestry management of the country.
China has forged partnership in developing Ethiopia's space science sector, whereby it has closely worked with Ethiopia's Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MoIT) to train Ethiopian space engineers as well as help the launch of ETRSS-1.
Ethiopian engineers will monitor the satellite from the multi-satellite tracking and data receiving ground station built at Entoto Observatory.
Speaking at the event televised live from Entoto Space Observatory facility on Friday, Demeke Mekonnen, Ethiopia's Deputy Prime Minister, commended China for its partnership with Ethiopia in blasting off Ethiopia's first ever satellite into space from China, which the deputy premier has hailed as "a historic stride," for the East African country.
"This satellite, dubbed ETRSS-1, which is being launched from China, lays foundation for the prosperity journey our country has embarked on; and I would like to congratulate you all; and congratulation to all of us!" Demeke said, "It marks a historic stride."
The space satellite launched from China has its command and control center in Ethiopia at the Entoto space observatory facility located on the 3,200-meter hill of Entoto.
The satellite is expected to save Ethiopia around 350 million birr (about 11 million U.S. dollars) annually, which the country currently spends to receive information from satellites owned by other countries.
Attending the event at Entoto Space Observatory Facility on Friday, Tan Jian, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, congratulated Ethiopians for the successful launch of the satellite.
"This satellite ET-RSS-1, remote sensing satellite, will help connect data to monitor the environment, weather patterns of Ethiopia for better agriculture planning, early warning drought and flooding, forest development, and mining activities. This is Ethiopia's first ever satellite; it is very big step; and I believe it is very important stride. So, I say congratulations to Ethiopia, to people of Ethiopia," said Tan.
Senior officials and experts hail the launch of Ethiopia's first ever satellite into space as a showcase of the ties enjoyed between Ethiopia and China.
Speaking to Xinhua recently, the Ethiopia Minister of Innovation and Technology, Getahun Mekuria, said Ethiopia and China have strong multifaceted ties, and the launch of ETRSS-1 is a showcase of these ties.
"China has helped train 20 Ethiopian space engineers both in China and at home using experienced Chinese personnel. These Ethiopian engineers are expected to play a key part in operating Ethiopia's first space satellite," Mekuria has said.
"This new Chinese-backed satellite will help Ethiopia save much-needed foreign currency that it currently spends to get information from foreign-owned satellites," the Minister has noted.