By Rashid Shirinov
Azerbaijan, the lead country of the region, has started even greater diversification of its economy in recent years, and as a result, today Azerbaijan takes its place among the countries engaged in space industry.
Currently, Azerbaijan operates its first satellite Azerspace-1, and the launch of Azerspace-2 is expected to enter orbit in May. Meanwhile, the country plans to launch the third satellite in the foreseeable future.
All work on preparation of the third satellite of Azerbaijan and the carrier rocket continue in accordance with the schedule in order to ensure the launch of the satellite at the designated time, Xezerxeber.az reported on April 10.
The work on modernization of the ground infrastructure for the launch has been completed in Baku and Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, and the exact date of the launch is already set.
With the launch of the new satellite, the possibilities of Azercosmos, which has a leading position in the neighboring Georgian market and a significant share in the Turkish market, will be expanded. It is expected that the number of partners of Azercosmos, which has a stable customer base in about 25 countries, will increase after the launch of the new satellite.
Azerspace-1, the nation’s first satellite, was launched into orbit on February 8, 2013. At present, its service area includes countries of Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The Azerbaijani satellite provides a variety of services, such as digital television, data transmission, VSAT multi-service networks, and governmental communications. The total cost of the Azerspace-1 project was $230 million.
In December 2014, Azercosmos took over the rights to operate and commercialize Azersky, high resolution (1.5 meter imagery products) optical Earth observation satellite, and entered into the commercial business of Earth observation services, including geo-information services. Azerbaijan’s revenue from the operation of Azersky is expected to exceed $200 million within the next decade.
Meanwhile, the revenue from the operation of Azerspace-1 amounted to $72 million so far, and from Azersky satellite – $19 million.
In addition, it was reported earlier that the launch of Azerspace-2, the second telecommunications satellite of Azerbaijan, is scheduled for May 25. It will be placed in a geostationary orbit 45 degrees east longitude and its service area will cover the countries of Europe, Central and South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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