U.S. Ex-Im bank expert council makes decision to finance building of Azerbaijani satellite

ICT Materials 26 January 2011 16:42 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 26 / Trend H.Valiyev/

The Expert Council of the U.S. Export-Import Bank of the United States adopted a positive decision with respect to financing the construction of the first Azerbaijani telecommunications satellite Azerspace, the Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry told Trend.

The decision on allocation of a loan to Azerbaijan was adopted at the recent meeting of the Ex-Im Expert Council.

According to the U.S. law, if the loan amount exceeds $100 million, it should be considered at the U.S. Congress.

The document approved by the Ex-Im, has already been sent to the Congress. The bank will provide funds to the Azerbaijani side after the approval.

Upon completion of internal procedures in the Ex-Im, the Azerbaijani side will adopt a document that will guarantee government support.

The cost of producing satellite Azerspace is 96 million manat, of which 20 million were already paid through the state budget. The remaining 76 million manat, as well as funds for additional expenses, will be allocated to Azerbaijan as a loan by the Ex-Im.

The loan agreement is expected to be signed by late March. The agreement will be signed on a tripartite basis among the Azerbaijani government, Ex-Im and French bank BNP Paribas.

The  Ex-Im will allocate funds to Azerbaijan on the basis of funds borrowed from BNP Paribas. The transaction is expected to be financed by Ex-Im over a two-year period of use of funds and a ten-year repayment period.

Azerspace's manufacturer is American company Orbital Sciences Corporation. An orbital position for Azerspace has been leased from the Malaysian MEASAT satellite operator. French company Arianspace has started to manufacture rocket carrier Ariane 5 ECA, which will launch the first Azerbaijani telecommunications satellite Azerspace into orbit.

The launch is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2012.

Azerspace is designed to provide digital broadcasting, Internet access, data transmission, VSAT multi-service networks, and governmental communications. It will be equipped with 24 C-band transponders and 12 Ku-band transponders. The satellite will be placed in orbit at 46 degrees east longitude. The satellite's term is 20 years. Its service area will cover Europe, Central Asia and Africa.

One of the priority issues facing the ministry is the realization of satellite resources. The ministry intends to withdraw 80 percent of Azerspace resources to the international market, and to use the remaining 20 percent on the intra-republican level.