By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan is pursuing long-term space industry development programs to strengthen its position in the global space industry market as a member of the space satellite club owning three satellites.
In January-March this year, Azercosmos OJSC exported satellite and telecommunication services worth $7.6 million to 17 countries.
According to the Export Review published by the Center for Economic Reforms Analysis and Communication, the profit of Azercosmos from the export of satellite and telecommunication services in March made up $5.5 million, which is 85 percent of the total income.
For the three months, the company exported services mainly to the U.S. ($4.8 million), France ($1.9 million), the United Arab Emirates ($304,000), Germany ($252,000) and the United Kingdom ($212,000).
Azerbaijan’s Azercosmos operates satellites and other devices used at different heights in order to support the country’s socio-economic development, commercial, scientific activities and for public purposes.
Azercosmos OJSC was established in May 2010 with the purpose of implementing the launch, operation and exploitation of telecommunication satellites of Azerbaijan. This is the first Caucasian satellite operator. 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.
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.
Azercosmos has already started commercial exploitation of the resources of Azerspace-2. Currently, the operator is negotiating with potential companies in countries within the scope of the satellite. Primary agreements have been signed with several operators in the U.S., Pakistan and other countries.
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.
The revenues of Azercosmos from the export of satellite and telecommunication services amounted to $25.6 million in 2018.
National satellites offer high-quality services for telecommunications in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Europe and the Caucasus region. The launch of the satellites into space ensures the formation of a reliable information security system in Azerbaijan and, in general, boosts telecommunications system development, and further enhances the quality of Internet, international telephone calls, television broadcasting and satellite services throughout the country. At the same time, satellite mapping, hydrometeorology, study of the Earth's surface and geodetic works are possible at a high level.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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