Ethiopia to Launch its First Rocket in Four Months

Ethiopia’s Mekelle Institute of Technology is in its final stage of putting together a laboratory and a rocket launching pad for the first rocket the country will launch in the coming few months.

spaceSOLENT0204_468x321The laboratory, which will be used as a testing ground where rocket engines are tested before they are mounted onto the main body, will be ready for trial after three months. The prototype rocket named Alpha Meles is anticipated to be launched on November 2015 from Hashenage Station in Northern Mekele. Alpha Meles was built at a cost of 50 million birr.

The rocket will go as high as 30km from the earth surface. Three organizations, Mesfin Industrial Engineering, Mesebo Cement and the Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC) jointly help the project to become a reality. Leul Gebreselassie, Quality Assurance Head at Mekelle Institute of Technology told Capital that the project will encourage more space science projects to bud up in future.
“In few months, we will launch the rocket. That will be a big showcase to demonstrate the education we offer can produce pupils who are capable of transforming theoretical ideas to practical work. We are just beginners in space technology. Conducting a research and incorporating the results with the work is intensive.”

“I hope this project will be a good appetizer for those who have been very enthusiastic in space science technology. The project will also lay the foundation to have our own satellite in space.”
Recently, scholars at the institute had made fuel from chicken feather. Another invention of the scholars was a candle with odor that repels malaria insects.

Edom Guesh, who innovated the feather fuel and a participant in the rocket project, said shortage of laboratory equipment was the main challenge on the project. And the small interest of business people to support innovative ideas is challenging that shadowed on innovative people.

“To create, we need a well-equipped laboratory and many universities don’t have good laboratories. Even harder is to introduce the innovations and to be able to sell them. Selling them is as hard as climbing a mountain.” Edom pleaded stakeholders to assist innovators and to support innovative works that can help change the society and the country by large.

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