Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 8 / Trend /
Seymur Aliyev, Trend Agency expert
Tonight Azerbaijan entered a new phase of its development and has become a member country of the space club by launching its first space satellite.
As Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in his congratulatory message, this is a momentous and historic day in the life of the country.
"Today is a momentous and historic day in our country's life. It is really a historic day, a great achievement, a great victory of our state. This event indicates that the independent Azerbaijani state is developing intensively and comprehensively, and we are already members of the space club," Aliyev said.
Today Azerbaijan highlights development of its non-oil industry and in particular, information technology. It is expected that in the future the ICT sector will equal the oil sector in income which will ensure sustainable development of the country.
The launch of Azerbaijan's first satellite will contribute not only to the development of the IT sector, but in the development of the economy as a whole.
Azerbaijan's first telecommunications satellite Azerspace/Africasat-1a was produced based on the Star-2 Bus advanced platform of the Orbital Science Corp. Company. Today, more than 20 satellites are manufactured and successfully operated based on this platform. The satellite is launched by French Arianespace Company.
The country currently spends more on the rent of satellite capacities from other countries and launching its own will reduce these costs. A certain part of the country's international and inter-city connections and most of the resources of radio and television broadcasting in the country are based on satellite communications.
If one takes into account the fact that most part of the country is mountainous, it can be said the demand for satellite services will increase sevenfold in the future.
Azerbaijani telecommunications satellite Azerspace is designed to render digital TV and radio broadcasting services, Internet, data transmission and the creation of VSAT multiservice networks.
The Azerbaijani first satellite, having 36 active transponders, will cover Europe, Africa, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. Its service life will be at least 15 years.
It is assumed that 20 per cent of the satellite's capacity will be used by Azerbaijan, and 80 per cent leased (there are conditional contracts for 40 per cent of leased capacity).
Azerspace will ensure the independence and security of data transmission, high-quality television and radio broadcasting, IP-services that will promote the development of e-government, distance education and medicine. Moreover, it will be used as a solution to the problems with communication in case of damaged fibre-optic lines.
Two satellites are expected to be launched into orbit in 2015-2016.
Azerbaijan is creating satellite groups. A low orbit satellite is planned to be launched in 2015 to monitor the earth's surface and the second telecommunications satellite in 2016.