Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 2
Within the strategic cooperation framework between Azerbaijan and France in the space industry, "Azercosmos" OJC, national satellite operator of Azerbaijan, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Airbus Defence and Space to take over the rights to operate and commercialize the SPOT 7 high resolution (1.5m imagery products) optical Earth observation satellite, which was successfully launched on June 30, 2014 and to be renamed as Azersky.
The long term strategic cooperation between two parties also includes joint operations of Azersky of Azercosmos and the SPOT 6 high resolution (1.5m imagery products) optical Earth observation satellite of Airbus Defence and Space in a constellation to provide superior service. Moreover, the ground segment to be constructed will allow Azercosmos to access images acquired from Pléiades 1A and 1B, very high resolution (0.5m imagery products) optical Earth observation satellites commercialized by Airbus Defence and Space. This satellite constellation opens up opportunities for many applications, providing the latest images within an unprecedented time frame. The combined acquisition capacity of Azersky and SPOT 6 is equal to six million square kilometres per day - an area ten times the size of France. This means that every day, every point on the globe can be viewed in high-resolution by the Azersky and SPOT 6 satellites.
Azersky was successfully launched on June 30, 2014 on a PSLV Indian launcher and was designed to survive harmful space conditions for at least 12 years. Azersky has a broad range of applications including but not limited to defence and security, emergency response, exploration of natural resources, maritime surveillance, sea faring, environmental protection, urban planning, cartography, agriculture, and tourism. During the next 1.5 years, more than 25 Azerbaijani professionals will be trained in France on optical satellite operations, product development, sales, and marketing of Geo-Information services. This agreement also marks Azercosmos' entry into the commercial business of Earth observation services, including Geo-Information services. This will strengthen Azerbaijan's position among the limited number of countries rendering satellite services.
Rashad Nabiyev, Azercosmos CEO, noted: "This agreement is an important step taken by Azercosmos to diversify our satellite services and bring additional value into the economy of Azerbaijan; and we are glad that Airbus Defence and Space is with us for this challenging journey."
Evert Dudok, Head of Communications, Intelligence and Security (CIS) Business Line at Airbus Defence and Space, said: "It is a great success to have such an agreement with Azercosmos, in a region offering a high potential for satellite imagery and geo-information applications. This cooperation will allow a business and operational model which is brand new and very innovative for us."
Azercosmos is the premier satellite operator in the Caucasus. Azerspace-1, the telecommunication satellite operated by Azercosmos, provides highly-reliable broadband and broadcast solutions to its customers in Europe, Africa, Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. The satellite, to operate in orbit for at least 15 years, was launched in February 2013 and is equipped with 36 transponders: 24 in C-band and 12 in Ku-band at 46° East longitude. Strategic development plans of the company include launch of the second telecommunications satellite and establishment of commercial business of Earth observation services in upcoming years.