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.”