Ethiopian officials announced Monday that the country had successfully launched its first satellite into orbit.
The satellite, which was developed with engineers from China, marks the country’s first foray into space and a milestone for its three-year-old space program, according to The Associated Press.
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“This is a day we became one of the 70 countries in the world that operate a satellite from space,” said Ahmedin Mohammed, an official at Ethiopia’s Innovation and Technology Ministry, the AP reported. “The next step is to launch a communication satellite and also set up a space materials assembly and manufacturing facility here in Ethiopia.”
Photos circulating on Twitter showed the rocket, emblazoned with Ethiopia’s flag, on a Chinese launchpad.
Ethiopia launches first satellite pic.twitter.com/QUrknKuzFC
— SelamCentral (@SelamCen) December 20, 2019
Development of the satellite reportedly cost $8 million, with China covering $6 million.
The satellite was reportedly launched from China’s Shanxi Province, while a control center directing the launch was centered in the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.