The late engineer Kitaw Ejigu was Ethiopia 's one and only aerospace scientist. One of the world's best aerospace scientists and the only Ethiopian in the field, Engineer Kitaw worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – NASA -, Rockwell International and for the Boeing Company which is a leading American aircraft and aerospace manufacturer. He completed a diploma in 1966 in Ethiopia and worked as an engineer for two years servicing agricultural vehicles before pursuing his ambitions in a field that no other Ethiopian has ever attempted to embark on.
In 1972 he won a scholarship from the Japanese Overseas Technical Association and traveled to Japan where he studied automotive engineering at Hiroshima University , as well as Language and Economics at Osaka University. He later moved to the United States and began his intensive research and training and earned MS/MBA in business administration in 1979. He then completed his doctorate in space vehicle systems engineering from Northrop University in California.
Upon completion of his studies and researches in the late 1970s, he started working for NASA as a system engineer and space research scientist. He collaborated with other scientists to create space shuttles and rockets that assisted in planetary science research and exploration for planet earth. Among his greatest achievements while in NASA and Boeing are his innovative creations of the Global Positioning System or GPS and a revolutionary and dynamic flight simulator for the Boeing Company.
Apart from his status as an aerospace scientist, he was also widely known for his efforts to bring about political change in Ethiopia. He publicly denounced the regime in Ethiopia and many of its actions and policies. Even though he was ambitious about using his knowledge, passion and expertise to help his homeland Ethiopia , he repeatedly said he was not made welcome by the regime. And in 2002, he founded a political party by the name of Ethiopian National United Front to help overthrow the unpopular regime and to bring about a stable and democratic political system.
Engineer Kitaw Ejigu died suddenly at the age of 58 on 13 January 2006 in the United States