By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijan does not exclude the possibility of participation of French companies in future space projects that will be implemented in the country.
This was stated by Communications and High Technologies Minister Ali Abbasov at a meeting with Pascal Monnier, French Ambassador to Azerbaijan who is completing his diplomatic mission in Baku.
The first geostationary satellite of the country Azerspace-1 was launched into orbit from the French Kourou space-launching station in the frame of strategic cooperation in the space industry. France also took direct part in the launch of another satellite of Azerbaijan – low-orbit satellite AzerSky.
“Azerbaijan took advantage of the rich experience of France in this area, but there is still a great potential to continue cooperation in the field of space technology,” said Abbasov.
Noting that bilateral relations in various fields, including high-tech communications develop confidently, the minister stressed that there is solid foundation for further strengthening and expanding mutual cooperation between the two countries.
Highlighting cooperation between Azerbaijan and France, the French ambassador noted successful development of relations in various areas, including in space industry, underlining the increased activity of French companies in Azerbaijan's economy.
Monnier expressed his satisfaction with participation of French companies in launch of Azerbaijan's first and next satellite into orbit. He also noted mutual interest in successful continuation of cooperation.
France is ready for further enhancing cooperation in space industry area, according to the envoy.
Azerbaijan already has two satellites on hand, one of which, AzerSky, was manufactured by French Airbus Defence and Space Company.
The country plans to launch the second geostationary satellite Azerspace 2 by late 2017– early 2018.
The tender for the construction of the satellite and the supply of equipment for ground control center include companies Airbus Defence and Space from France, Orbital and Space Systems Loral from the U.S., and China Great Wall Industry Corporation.
The satellite will be positioned at the orbital position of 45 degrees east longitude, leased by the Azerbaijani side from the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization, which is also a lessee of 45.9 percent of satellite resources.
The service area of Azerspace-2 will include the countries of Europe, Southeast Asia, Middle East and Africa.
Space industry is one of new but developing sphere in Azerbaijan. Earlier, French companies expressed their willingness to cooperate with Azerbaijan in the development of space industry, including satellite optical observation and nuclear research.
Along with France, Azerbaijan is also cooperating with Argentina, Turkey, Belarus in the space industry.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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