Kazakhstan to launch its first land satellite in late 2013

By Aynur Jafarova

Kazakhstan's national space agency Kazkosmos has announced that the country plans to launch the first domestic land remote sensing satellite in 2013.

Kazkosmos said the launch of the first land remote sensing satellite of medium resolution is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2013 from the Yasniy launch site in Russia.

According to the agency, the launch of the second Kazakh land remote sensing satellite of high resolution is scheduled for 2014 from the French Kourou spaceport.

Speaking at an international seminar dedicated to the launch of Kazakhstan's first satellite, Kazkosmos Chairman Talgat Musabayev said that the satellite of high resolution has 'secret equipment' on board, due to which the French side asked to implement the launch from the territory of the spaceport in French Guiana.

He said this is the only reason for the launch from France's territory.

"Our French partners are helping us to create ground infrastructure. Our specialists took a two-year course in France and England and gained high-level education. Now they are involved jointly with French specialists in the creation of a satellite and other hardware," Musabayev said.

According to Musabayev, Kazakhstan will launch the first satellite with its own rocket carrier; 10 percent of stock in the company which will launch the satellite belongs to Kazakhstan's Garysh Sapary company.

"These photos will provide various fields of the economy such as agriculture, ecology, emergencies, security, defense, geological exploration and production of natural resources with prompt cosmic information," Musabayev said.

The land remote sensing satellite will be of vital importance especially for Kazakhstan, which has a vast territory, various types of relief and does not have considerable population, Musabayev added.

According to him, a satellite with such features has not been created and launched in the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States to date.

In turn, president of Kazakh Garysh Sapary company Gabdullatif Murzakulov said that Kazakhstan will allocate funds for the establishment of a national space center without delay.

"Funds worth £370 million are envisaged for this," he said, adding that the creation of ground infrastructure will be fully completed this year.

"By late this year, when the satellite of medium resolution will be launched, we will control it. It is planned to launch the satellite of high resolution in December 2014," Murzakulov said.

Land remote sensing is the supervision of the Earth surface with aviation and space facilities, equipped with various types of hardware.