NEWS

Engineer Kitaw dies


Engineer Kitaw Ejigu
Engineer Kitaw Ejigu
AUSTIN, Texas – Kitaw Ejigu, a prominent Ethiopian-American who, at the peak of his career in the ‘80s was chief of spacecraft and satellite systems design engineer at NASA, died Thursday of brain injury. He was 57.

Inventor of two aerospace mechanisms for JPL/NASA, which were patented under NASA’s new technology, Kitaw’s brilliant career also included working as Space Technology and Systems Research scientist at Boeing, Rockwell International, and Loral Corp.

Born in Bonga, a small town in Kaffa province in southern Ethiopia, the young Kitaw was a student at Bahr Dar Polytechnic Institute in the ‘60s, and a scholar at Hiroshima University’s Automotive Engineering Faculty in the early ‘70s.

Before launching his own company, TransTech International, Kitaw was a program manager for a Lunar/Mars Micro-Rover research and development for NASA, according to an Ethiopian Review story.

The former NASA scientist has been active in Ethiopian politics, and was leader of the Ethiopian National United Front (ENUF), an armed rebel group whose areas of operation are reportedly in northwestern Ethiopia.

Following the post-election crisis in Ethiopia, Kitaw was actively campaigning to draw support mainly from communities in the Ethiopian diaspora in North America and Europe. He was a courageous proponent of Ethiopian Unity, and an avowed opponent of the disastrous ethnic politics being hotly pursued by Meles Zenawi.

Millions of Ethiopians no doubt mourn the death of Engineer Kitaw, who is survived by his wife, Estella, and three children: Benyam, Sara and Yared.

(Photo: ENUF website)


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