Steps towards future
A man began assimilating the space even in the first half of the last century, offering preconditions for the new space age, which changes the modern human life in high speed. Now few people can imagine its life without a mobile handset, satellite television and weather forecasts. However, few people now suspects that the comfort of civilization is first of linked with space. Namely the space devices made possible transiting data to longer distance, while the space technologies of the 21st century penetrated into everyday life, making it more comfortable.
The theme of innovations and technologies is topical and well-times due to some reasons. It is beyond controversy that Azerbaijan should seek new directions, getting rid of dependence on raw materials. The government is demonstrating its interest in developing innovations. One of the ambitious projects of the latest period is a project on launching a national telecommunications satellite Azerspace is entering a new stage.
The State Program on Establishment and Development of Space Industry was approved by the order of President of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev on August 17, 2009.
This program is of great significance and represents the government's attention to this field. The program is intended to shape a basis for establishing and developing space industry in the country, meet increasing demand of the population in IT. Furthermore, the state program will ensure the county's entrance to the international market and development of economic, social, scientific, cultural spheres, as well as national security by rational use of space industry.
The Ministry of IT and Communication has been charged in realizing a project. The ministry announced a tender last year to create the first Azerbaijani telecommunication satellite Azerspace. Orbital Sciences Corporation won the tender and the ministry signed a contract with the winner to produce the satellite. A company to insure the satellite and rocket-carrier to launch to orbit will be determined soon.
Initially, the satellite launch was supposed to be implemented based on the American Falcon rocket carrier, but as the U.S. project delays, the ministry is also negotiating with Ukroboronservis on launching satellite with Zenit rocket carrier.
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan and the Malaysian satellite operator MEASAT signed a long-term contract on leasing an orbital position for Azerbaijani satellite Azerspace in May, 2010. It will be utilized for needs of national satellite until Azerbaijan does not fulfill task on full coordination of frequency assimilation of the satellite and own orbital position with other countries.
The ITU placed the Azerspace national satellite on 43.2, 58.5 and 96 degrees east.
Azerbaijani side hold talks for the Coordination of frequency assignments for satellite systems of countries which have received for a long-term orbital-frequency resource at the geo-stationary orbit to set up a network of national systems for broadcasting. The main objective is to achieve progress in the coordination of satellite networks in these countries and the coordination of the use of frequency resources and the broadcasting zone.
ITU presented list of countries, whose satellites will also be located at the above mentioned positions to the Ministry of Communications of Azerbaijan. Initially, the satellite will be located at orbital position 46 degrees east longitude, leased from the Malaysian side. The priority is to coordinate issues on the positions of 43.2 and 58.5 degrees east longitude. The main purpose of coordination is to avoid the problems in the future.
In accordance with the agreement, the ITU member countries adopted two principles of allocating orbital frequency resources - distribution and coordination.
The distribution system gives some limited amount of resources to specific services. An example of distribution solutions may serve as ITU global plan of broadcasting service, on which all states received a long-term orbital-frequency resource in a geostationary orbit for the deployment of networks of national systems for television broadcasting. But the majority of satellite communications systems (CAS) are resources on coordination basis.
The only legitimate basis for the consolidation of international law to occupy an orbital position is to launch a satellite after the international coordination of the parameters of satellite communications systems with systems of other countries and its notification in the International telecommunication Union (ITU) register. If the satellite has not been launched in time then the unrealized orbital-frequency resource is canceled by ITU and enters into a common pool of resources for coordination for other satellite systems asserted in this position.
Azerspace is expected to launch in July-August 2012. Monaco
Azerbaijan agreed with Kazakhstan and Ukraine over the coordination of frequency assignments for satellite systems. Coordination issues are also planned to be discussed with Russia, Turkey, Monaco and Italy.
One of the priority issues facing the ministry is the realization of satellite resources. Azerbaijan intends to withdraw 80 percent of Azerspace resources to the international market, and to use the remaining 20 percent on the intrarepublican level. Malaysia expressed its willingness to acquire a 40 percent of the satellite resources.
The orbiting of the satellite will mark Azerbaijan's first move to turn itself into a country with a space industry. The satellite will enable Azerbaijan to establish high-quality and reliable communications and television, as well as to increase the number of channels.
Azerspace will be equipped with 24 transponders C band and 12 transponders Ku band. 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. According to the international practice, renting of 6-8 transponders cost about $9-10 million a year.
The implementation of the project to launch a national satellite Azerspace will allow introducing new technologies in space systems of telecommunication and communication, including the access to the Internet, as well as provide informational independence and form single information sphere.
At present, Azerbaijan annually spends millions of dollars to rent transponders of foreign satellites for communication and broadcasting. Launching of a national satellite will solve the problem.
About 112 million manat is planned to spent for its creation. The payback period is about five-seven years. The cost includes construction of the backup control center, training and other measures arising out of the contract paragraphs.
The term of the satellite will be 15 years, the payback period - about five years.
According to Abbasov, the total cost of the project together with a rocket for launch varies within the limits of $200 million, but this figure may be adjusted to 10-15 percent.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's issued a decree on the establishment of JSC Azerkosmos under the Communications and IT Ministry in early May with regard to launch a telecommunication satellite into orbit.
According to the president's order, the Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers should approve the charter and structure of public companies within two months. It should ensure planning of relevant means for the manufacture and placing of a telecommunications satellite in orbit in the draft of the Azerbaijani state budget for the next years, the development and construction in accordance with international requirements of the main and back-ground satellite control center, on the condition of return.
The establishment of JSC has two objectives. The first objective is to lay the groundwork for the formation and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. The second goal is the use of outer space for commercial purposes.
The future plans of the ministry include expansion of satellite stations for the development of DVB-S standard (Digital Video Broadcasting - Satellite), which is a fast, reliable and economical way to deliver TV signal of high quality to any part of the vast space under the state program on development of space industry.