|Native name||ቅጣው እጅጉ|
February 25, 1948|
Bonga, Kaffa, Ethiopia
|Died||January 13, 2006
|Nationality||Ethiopian and American|
|Occupation||Space vehicle systems engineer|
Kitaw Ejigu (Amharic: ቅጣው እጅጉ?; February 25, 1948 – January 13, 2006) was an Ethiopian American scientist who worked for NASA as Chief of Spacecraft and Satellite Systems engineer. He was also a political leader.
Kitaw was born in Bonga, Kaffa, Ethiopia. He attended secondary school at the 27th High School in Jimma. After completing his highschool Kitaw joined Bahir Dar Polytechnic Institute, and in 1966, graduated as the top student in his class. He received his diploma in mechanical engineering with specialization in agricultural technology. After graduation, Kitaw worked at the Ethiopian Automotive Services and Sales Company (EASSCO) as chief technical advisor and assistant manager for two years.
In 1972, he won a scholarship from the Japanese Overseas Technical Association and traveled to Japan. There, Kitaw studied automotive engineering at Hiroshima University as well as language and economics at Osaka University. He later moved to the United States, where he began intensive research and training and earned an MBA in 1979. He then completed his doctorate in space vehicle systems engineering from Northrop University in California.
With 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 on the space shuttle and other rocketry projects. Kitaw Ejigu was one of Ethiopia's first aerospace scientists. He also worked for Rockwell International and Boeing.
Apart from his work as an aerospace scientist, he was also known for his efforts to bring about political change in Ethiopia. He publicly denounced the regime in Ethiopia and its actions and policies. Even though he was ambitious about using his knowledge, experience and high-status to help his homeland Ethiopia, he repeatedly said he was not made welcome by the regime. In 2002, he founded a political party, the Ethiopian National United Front, to help overthrow Meles Zenawi's regime.
Kitaw Ejigu died at the age of 58 on 13 January 2006 in the United States. Prior to his death, he was planning to work with the founder of Africa Needs Community Development Corporation, Tad Worku. His goal was to implement his valuable knowledge for the people of Africa and the world to see.
- Press Digest. Vol. 13. Nr. 1-26 (2006). p. 5
- Europa Publications Staff (2007) The Europa World Year Book: 2007. Vol. 1. p. 1718
- "Kitaw Ejigu Obituary" at Los Angeles Times, January 17, 2006
- Ethiopian Review. Vol. 2, Nr. 1. (1992) p. 22
- Africa Needs Community Development Corporation
- Kitaw Ejigu Obituary Los Angeles Times on January 17, 2006 at legacy.com