By Nigar Orujova
French company Arianspace has announced the launch date of the first Azerbaijani national satellite Azerspace/Africasat-1, Trend news agency reported.
The in-orbit launch is scheduled on February 7. The satellite will be sent into orbit by the Ariane 5 ECA launcher from the Kourou spaceport (Guiana Space Centre), located in the northeast part of South America, French Guiana.
According to Arianspace, besides the Azerbaijani satellite Azerspace, the Ariane 5 ECA launcher will also send the Spanish telecommunications satellite Amazonas-3 into orbit.
The satellite will be launched into a geostationary orbit at 46 degrees east longitude, leased from Malaysia's Measat Satellite Systems, owned by the Malaysian government.
The Azerspace satellite manufacturer is American company Orbital Sciences Corporation. The satellite was designed to offer digital broadcasting services, Internet access, data transmission, and to create multiservice VSAT networks and governmental communication.
According to Minister of Communications and Information Technologies Ali Abbasov, the total value of the project on launching Azerbaijan's first satellite, Azerspace-1, is about $230 million.
"The figure includes the expenses for construction of ground control stations and insurance costs," Abbasov said earlier in December . "Overall insurance expenses for the satellite are up to $17 million."
According to the minister, $16 million of this amount accounts for full coverage of the satellite's insurance and about $1 million is to be spent on guaranteeing the insurance amount.
The Azerspace-1 payload installed on the STAR-2 platform consists of 36 transponders -- 24 C-band transponders and 12 Ku-band ones.
The frequency of the strip on each transponder is 36 MHz and the weight of the satellite is about 1,500 tons, according to Azerkosmos.
The satellite exploitation term in the orbit will be up to 15 years. The satellite service zone will cover Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia and North Africa.