The government of Ethiopia is set to commence the construction of satellite manufacturing, assembly, integration and testing (MAIT) facilities in Addis Ababa. This will be part of the second phase of its space development program.
This was after the government signed an agreement with French space company, Ariane Group, to commence the construction of MAIT facilities which is expected to commence on January 2020 with a completion timeline of 30 months.
Management of the project
According to the Director General of the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI), Dr Solomon Belay, once construction is completed, the Engineering Research and Development Directorate (SERDD), a division of the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI), will lead the facility’s management. SERDD will help ensure the optimization of its capacity in developing satellite systems and components. Ethiopian engineers will be involved in the project.
In addition to that, the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology added that the European Investment Bank (EIB) will help back the project through a tripartite agreement involving the Ethiopian Government, EIB, and Ariane Group. When completed and put into operation, the project will be of great help not only to Ethiopia but also to the East African space sector. The project is also expected to create technology and knowledge transfer.
Other facilities to undergo construction are a mechanical and electrical laboratory which will help in the research and development of new technologies in the aerospace field once the project is completed.
AIT facilities in Africa
In Africa, only South Africa and Algeria have functional AIT facilities whereas Egypt has recently commenced the construction of its AIT centre in collaboration with China. Nigeria is looking forward to complete its AIT facilities after beginning the project over 8 years ago.