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Azerspace-2 to be ready for commercial operation soon

By Narmina Mammadova

Azerbaijan’s telecommunications satellite Azerspace-2 will reach its target orbit – 45 degrees east longitude – in January 2019, Azercosmos OJSC told Trend.

According to the company, at present the satellite is in the transfer orbit and is approaching the test orbit every day.

According to preliminary data, Azerspace-2 will reach a test orbit by mid-December, after which tests of the satellite platform will begin. Upon completion of the tests, the satellite will be placed in its final orbit at 45 degrees east longitude in January 2019. Afterwards, Azercosmos will transfer control.

“The satellite will be fully ready for commercial operation in January-February 2019,” said the company.

The new satellite, as the company said, will become a backup for the first Azerspace-1 satellite and will enable Azercosmos to expand the geography of coverage and the range of services provided. In addition, the presence of a second satellite will allow to take part in large international tenders, which was not possible before.

The launch of Azerspace-2 was carried out from the ELA-3 launch complex of the Guiana Space Center on September 26, 2018 by the Ariane 5 launch vehicle of the French company Arianespace. The satellite is designed to provide a number of telecommunications services. Its service area includes countries in Europe, Central and South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The main satellite control center is located on the 37th kilometer of the Baku-Shamakhi highway, and the backup center is located on the territory of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (the village of Nekhedzhir, Julfinsky district of NAR).

On May 3, 2010, Presidential Decree established Azercosmos OJSC with the purpose of implementing the launch, operation, and exploitation of telecommunication satellites for Azerbaijan. On October 2017, Azercosmos OJSC became accountable directly to the Cabinet of Ministers.

Azerbaijan’s Azercosmos OJSC operates satellites and other devices used at different heights in order to support the country’s socio-economic development, commercial, scientific activities and for state purposes. This is stated in the amendments to the decision of Azerbaijan’s Cabinet of Ministers “On approval of Charter and structure of Azercosmos OJSC.”

The amendments says that Azercosmos will represent Azerbaijan in the INTERSPUTNIK International Organization of Space Communications, the European Telecommunications Satellite Organization, the European Space Agency, the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and will also cooperate with space agencies and organizations of other countries in the field of peaceful use of space.

The company manages two satellites Azerspace-1, Azerspace-2 and low-orbit satellite Azersky.

The first communication satellite, Azerspace-1, was launched into geostationary orbit at 46 degrees east longitude on February 8, 2013. The launch of the satellite was carried out from the Kourou spaceport by the company Arianespace.

At present, its service area includes countries of Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

As for March 2018, the total revenues of Azercosmos OJSC from the operation of Azerspace-1 and Azersky satellites have reached $91 million.

The income from using the first telecommunications satellite amounted to $ 72 million. At the same time, the country 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/Intelsat 38 on September 25, 2018. The satellite has been designed to provide a number of telecommunication services and will serve two operators – Intelsat SA and Azercosmos OJSC. It was placed at 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.

The lifetime of the satellite in orbit will be 15 years.

The new satellite worth $190 million is projected to bring $400 million revenue to Azerbaijan’s economy.

About Fidan Abdullayeva