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'To Infinity and Beyond!' Ethiopia Launches Its First Satellite Into Space With China's Aid

© AP Photo / Mulugeta AyenePeople attend the launch of Ethiopia's first micro-satellite (ETRSS-1) at the Entoto Observatory on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, Friday Dec. 20, 2019
People attend the launch of Ethiopia's first micro-satellite (ETRSS-1) at the Entoto Observatory on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, Friday Dec. 20, 2019 - Sputnik International
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African countries have 41 satellites in Earth orbit with 38 of them launched by individual states, while the other three were multinational efforts.

Ethiopia has launched its first satellite into space with the help of Chinese partners in order to track down agricultural data, africanews.space website has reported.

"This will be a foundation for our historic journey to prosperity," Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen said.

The satellite, ETRSS-1, was launched via China's Long March 4B rocket from the Taiyuan space base in northern China. The Asian nation has also covered most of the satellite's cost of around $8 million.

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According to the country's Innovation and Technology Minister Getahun Mekuria, the satellite would save Ethiopia money as previously the country purchased remote-sensing data from foreign satellites.

The data is very sensitive for a country dependant on agriculture and forestry and vulnerable to flood, drought and other climate perils.

 Ethiopia with a population of more than 100 million, has one of the world's fastest-growing economies with an average annual GDP growth of 9.9% since 2007.

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