By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan carries out long-term space industry development programs to strengthen its position in the global space industry market.
The government established Azercosmos OJSC to implement the launch, operation and exploitation of telecommunication satellites of Azerbaijan.
Azercosmos operates satellites and other devices used at different heights in order to support the country’s socio-economic development, commercial, scientific activities as well as for public purposes.
The only satellite operator in the Caucasus, Azercosmos made a profit of $21.2 million for the provision of telecommunications and optical satellite services in the first half of 2019. The company’s profit increased by 47 percent compared to the same period last year.
Almost all profits (90 percent) accounted for satellite services. The U.S., France, Malaysia, the UK, Germany and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were the main customers.
According to the forecasts, the profit of Azercosmos is expected to be $45 million by the end of 2019. Moreover, the company has signed contracts with new customers from 9 countries.
Over 150 television and radio channels, which are broadcast via Azercosmos’ satellites, have a total audience of over 20 million people.
The revenues of Azercosmos from the export of satellite and telecommunication services amounted to $25.6 million in 2018.
Currently, Azercosmos operates Azerspace-1, Azerspace-2 geostationary satellites and low-altitude AzerSky satellite.
The first satellite of Azerbaijan, Azerspace-1, was launched into space in 2013 from the Kuru cosmodrome in South America. At present, its service area includes countries of Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.The income from using the first telecommunications satellite has amounted to $72 million.
At the same time, the country has earned $19 million from using the Azersky satellite, operating since 2014 and intended to monitor the surface of the Earth. Azerbaijan’s revenue from the operation of Azersky is expected to exceed $200 million within the next decade.
Organizations from 13 countries, including Azerbaijan, the Baltic, Central Asia and Eastern Europe countries, used images of Azersky for the needs of cartography, agriculture, ecology, land use and monitoring.
In addition, Azercosmos launched the new satellite Azerspace-2 on September 25, 2018, from ELA-3 platform in Guiana Space Center located in French Guiana. Its service area covers the countries of Europe, Central and South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The satellite reached its test orbit on December 18, 2018. The new satellite allowed Azercosmos to serve customers from the U.S., the UAE and Tanzania.
This year, Azercosmos has started commercial exploitation of the resources of Azerspace-2. The projected revenue for the current year from the commercial sale of the satellite resources is $16.5 million. The lifetime of the satellite in orbit is 20 years.
The new satellite will not only expand the range of services and geography of activities of Azercosmos, but will also act as a reserve for the first telecommunications satellite Azerspace-1. In addition, the second satellite will make it possible to take part in big international tenders, which was not possible earlier. Azerspace-2 satellite worth $190 million is expected to bring $400 million in revenue to the country's economy.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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