February 2, 2013
February 7, 2013 – Azerbaijan’s first telecommunications satellite, the Azerspace/Africasat-1a was successfully launched into orbit today from French Guyana marking the first Arian Space launch this year.
“This is a proud day for the people of Azerbaijan,” said Azerbaijan Ambassador to the United States Elin Suleymanov. “The successful launch of Azerbaijan’s first telecommunications satellite marks an important milestone in the successful partnership with U.S. industry and the Government of Azerbaijan. This satellite will address current and future communications needs of Azerbaijan, the Caucasus Region, Central Asia, Europe and Africa. The launch is also a fitting beginning for 2013, declared the year of Information and Communications Technologies in Azerbaijan by President Ilham Aliyev, and illustrates the Government’s policy of economic diversification and promoting new technologies.”
Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corporation designed, built, and delivered the state-of-the-art communications satellite as part of a $205 million contract with the Azercosmos, an Open Joint Stock Company of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The satellite construction supported 1,500 U.S. jobs and is an example of the important bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Azerbaijan, America’s largest trade partner from the South Caucasus.
As the first national telecommunications satellite for Azerbaijan and for the South Caucasus, the Azerspace/Africasat-1a will provide important broadband Internet, data, voice and broadcasting services to Central Asia, Europe and Africa during its 15-year mission life. Azerbaijan-based Azercosmos will handle operational control of the satellite from control centers in Baku and Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan, once in-orbit testing is completed by Orbital. A replay of today’s launch can be seen at http://www.arianespace.tv/ and a computer generated of what the fully operation system will look like in space is available here.
Incorporated in 2010, the Azercosmos Open Joint Stock Company of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan is the premier satellite operator in both Azerbaijan and the Caucasus region. It will provide satellite-delivered communications services and highly reliable satellite platforms to broadcasting, broadband and government customers with the launch of Azerspace/Africasat-1a and other forthcoming satellite projects.