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October 28 – November 3, 2013 / Vol 32, No 43 / Hawai`i Island, USA

25 Oct 2013, 20:45 UTC
October 28 – November 3, 2013 / Vol 32, No 43 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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Ethiopia Is Newest Source of Rising Africa Space Ambitions
The first phase of a space exploration program has been launched by the Ethiopian Space Science Society (ESSS), consisting of a US$3.4M observatory funded by business tycoon Mohammed Alamoudi. Located 3,200 meters above sea level in the Entoto Mountains, the dual 1-meter telescopes are the largest in East Africa and are intended to promote astronomy research in the region. Observatory director Solomon Belay believes science is a key to development. ESSS is planning a second observatory at 4,200 meters in Lalibela and hopes to launch Ethiopia’s first satellite within the next 3 years. Africa-wide spending on space sciences is estimated at US$212M by Nithaya Chetty of SANRF. With South Africa a clear leader, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Kenya, Tunisia, Morocco, Ghana, Uganda and others all have operational or fledgling space focused projects and programs. The 54-member African Union continues to discuss establishing an African Space Agency similar to ESA in Europe. Over 50% of Africa’s population is under 30 years of age and its combined economy is the fastest growing of any continent. Education, governance, IT, infrastructure and health factors are improving. There is an expanding and strengthening sense of opportunity and ...

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