A Chinese Long March 4B rocket (CZ-4B) launch scheduled to ferry Ethiopia’s first remote sensing satellite ETRSS-1 into orbit tomorrow, on 17 December, has been postponed for three days due to unfavourable weather condition.
The Long March 4B rocket will now lift off on the 20 December at 03:21 GMT from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China, carrying on board the ETRSS-1 satellite as a secondary payload and the CBERS 4A remote sensing satellite as a primary payload. CBERS 4A is the fifth China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite for the collection of global imagery for environmental, urban planning and agricultural applications.
Once launched into its designated orbit, the ETRSS-1 satellite will provide data to monitor the environment and weather patterns for better agricultural planning, early warning for drought, mining activities and forestry management.
The 70kg multi-spectral satellite was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), as the prime contractor, in collaboration with Ethiopian scientists, trained on the project as part of the technology-transfer agreement with the Ethiopian Space Science Technology Institute (ESSTI).
“21 Ethiopian scientists worked on the ETRSS1 project, of which 5 are women. This shows tremendous progress in empowering our women in particular and our scientists in general,” notes ESSTI in a recent Tweet.
ESSTI will operate the ETRSS-1 via a ground receiving, control and command station located in Ethiopia at the Entoto Observatory and Research Centre.
In April this year, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, visited China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), where he inspected the satellite project.
In related news, the Ethiopian government has reached an agreement with French space company, ArianeGroup, to commence the construction of satellite manufacturing, assembly, integration and testing (MAIT) facilities in Addis Ababa in January 2020 with a completion timeline of 30 months.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Analyst at Space in Africa. His experience spans industry research and market analysis with a focus on African-grown NewSpace companies, commercial space industry, national space programmes and real-life application of space science for sustainable development in Africa.