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Africa is looking to space to power its science, tech, and military ambitions


In January, Ethiopia became the latest African nation to look skyward and declare its ambitions in space.

The country’s ministry of science and technology announced that it will launch a satellite into orbit in three to five years to better develop its weather-monitoring capabilities. This follows the 2015 launch of a privately-funded, multi-million dollar astronomical observatory in the Entoto hills overlooking Addis Ababa—the only one of its kind in the region.

News of the satellite and the observatory drew criticism in a nation that is still developing and currently struggling with a drought. But that’s unlikely to curb the country’s space ambitions. “They call us crazy because they think we’re [only] exploring outer space and gazing at the stars,” Abinet Ezra of the Ethiopian Space Science Society told the Guardian. “But they can’t see the bigger picture.”


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