One of the most important developments in the history of modern Azerbaijan occurred on 8 February. The first telecommunications satellite of the Republic of Azerbaijan, “Azerspace-1”, has been successfully launched into orbit. President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva have attended a ceremony organized on this occasion at the “Azerkosmos” Open Joint-Stock Company.
The President of Azerbaijan has also inaugurated the office building of the “Azerkosmos” Open Joint-Stock Company.
Azerbaijan is attaching great importance to the introduction of high technologies and creation of a space industry. The declaration under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev of the sphere of information and communication technology as a priority in Azerbaijan and the announcement of 2013 as the Year of Information and Communication Technologies in the country are a clear demonstration of the attention being paid to the development of this sector at state level. In 2008, President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree "On establishing a space industry in Azerbaijan and launching telecommunications satellites into orbit" and in 2009 approved the State Program on the establishment and development of the country's space industry, which is evidence of the great interest of the state in the development of this sphere. Following this, in 2010, the head of state signed a decree on the establishment of the “Azerkosmos” Open Joint-Stock Company, tasking this organization with producing and launching a telecommunications satellite into orbit and establishing a primary and backup ground control centers. In the first two years of its existence, the first satellite operator in Azerbaijan and the Caucasus, “Azerkosmos”, has carried out work involving provision of broadcasting and telecommunications services and highly reliable communication platforms meeting the requirements of government and corporate clients. But most importantly, attention was focused on the development and launch into orbit of the first artificial satellite “Azerspace-1”. Preparations for the launch of the first national satellite whose information and communication services will be used by millions of people are certainly a major event that shows the power of our state to the world.
On 8 February, President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva arrived at the “Azerkosmos” OJSC.
After informing the President about the company, the Minister of Communication and Information Technologies, Ali Abbasov, said that the goal of “Azerkosmos” was to provide clients with quality services at all times. For this purpose, “Azerkosmos” has built its work on the basis of international standards and pursues a policy of good governance.
It was indicated that the territory where “Azerkosmos” is located is suited for exercising control over “Azerspace-1”. There are antennas for various purposes for control over the satellite.
President Ilham Aliyev also reviewed the office building of “Azerkosmos”. It was noted that the building has all the conditions for staff. It was also mentioned that over the past period special attention at “Azerkosmos” OJSC was paid to the training of highly qualified personnel. The technical personnel were involved in stage-by-stage courses and training sessions in the United States and Malaysia. The main goal has been to ensure management of the “Azerspace” satellite on the part of Azerbaijani specialists.
President Ilham Aliyev was also informed about current and future projects. It was noted that the launch of a low-earth-orbit satellite was expected in 2015 and of “Azerspace-2” satellite in 2016.
Then, President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva watched the launch of the “Azerspace-1” satellite into orbit. The first satellite of the Republic of Azerbaijan, “Azerspace-1”, was launched into orbit at 01.36 Baku time from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, South America, in French Guiana, which is under the administrative control of France. The launch vehicle was “Ariane-5”, which depicted the tricolor flag of Azerbaijan.
For “Arianespace”, which controls more than 50 per cent of the global market for launching satellites and has implemented a total of 242 satellite launches from various boosters since the start of operations in 1980, the launch of the “Azerspace-1” satellite from the carrier rocket “Ariane-5” is the 54th consecutive successful launch since 2002. The “Azerspace-1” satellite has been assembled on the basis of the STAR-2 satellite platform developed by “Orbital Sciences” and successfully operating on 22 artificial satellites now.
“Azerspace-1” satellite, weighing nearly 3.2 tons and equipped with a payload of 36 active transponders, will be positioned in the geostationary orbit at 46 degrees East and cover the regions of Europe, Africa, Central Asia, Caucasus and the Middle East. The “Azerspace-1” satellite, which will operate in orbit for at least 15 years, is intended to provide broadcasting and telecommunication services, platforms for high-quality and reliable communication meeting the requirements of corporate and government clients.
Twenty per cent of the satellite’s resources will be used to meet the needs of Azerbaijan, while the remaining 80 per cent will be exported to the world market. Conditional contracts for the sale of 40 per cent of the satellite’s resources have already been signed. Using the technological design and extensive connectivity of the “Azerspace-1” satellite, millions of people in the geographical area covering almost a third of the planet will be able to comfortably use modern information and communication services. Our first satellite will play an important economic role on an area covering more than 50 countries around the world. The launch of Azerbaijan’s first telecommunications satellite is an important step towards diversification of the economy, the independence and security of information, the development of the aerospace industry in the country and its integration into the international space. It is also a cost-effective project of a commercial nature. Thus, the “Azerspace-1” satellite will provide quality broadcasts on the territory of Azerbaijan in the near future, including the provision of high-speed IP-based services. On the whole, better control will be exercised over the entire information being transmitted and an enabling platform created for such important programs as various e-government projects, distance learning and e-health. In case of damage to the terrestrial fiber-optic network, it will be possible to eliminate communication problems by means of effective and operational solutions. In addition, in order to ensure the security of communication a modern communications system meeting the latest requirements and secure encryption will be launched.
In accordance with the insurance contract of the “Azerspace-1” satellite, in the case of possible accidents on the orbit the “Azerkosmos” OJSC will be able to continue the “Azerspace-1” project using insurance payments.
Thirty-three minutes after being launched from the spaceport, “Azerspace-1” separated from the launch vehicle. And 34 minutes 56 seconds after entering space, Azerbaijan’s first satellite took its place in orbit.
President Ilham Aliyev congratulated our people on the successful launch of the first satellite of the Republic of Azerbaijan, “Azerspace-1”, into orbit.
Message of congratulation of President Ilham Aliyev
- It is a remarkable and historic day in the life of our country today, as the first Azerbaijani telecommunications satellite has been put into orbit. I congratulate the people of Azerbaijan on this historic occasion.
This is a truly historic day, a great achievement, a big victory for our state. This event shows that the independent state of Azerbaijan is rapidly and comprehensively developing, and we are already a member of the space club.
On this occasion I want to express my gratitude to all the organizations who have participated in this process, to everyone and, above all, to Azerbaijani experts. The young specialists sitting here today are already professionals. I am very pleased that the vast majority of people working at this beautiful control center are citizens of Azerbaijan.
At the same time, the in-orbit delivery of our satellite has been made possible through international cooperation. It has been made possible thanks to the help and support of the American company “Orbital” and French company “Arianespace”. International cooperation is developing and growing in all areas. We are seeing excellent results of this collaboration in the space industry as well.
Azerbaijan is developing successfully. Extensive creative work is under way in our country. The international reputation of our country is growing. Today Azerbaijan is a member of the top international organization of the world – the UN Security Council. Influential international financial institutions have put the Azerbaijani economy in first place in the CIS and in 46th worldwide in terms of competitiveness. Our country conducts very successful economic reforms, while the development of new technologies, information and communication technologies is one of the hallmarks of the present-day Azerbaijan. It is not by chance that on my order 2013 has been declared the Year of the Information and Communication Technologies in Azerbaijan. I am sure that we will achieve even greater success in the field of information and communication technologies this year and beyond.
The in-orbit delivery of our satellite is, of course, a significant and historic event. We started this work five years ago. In 2008, I made the decision to put an Azerbaijani satellite into orbit. In 2009, the State Program was adopted. In 2010, the “Azerkosmos” Open Joint-Stock Company was set up and Azerbaijan has become a member of the space club.
We are working hard to launch new satellites in the future, and we will achieve that. In 2015 and 2016, we will launch two more satellites into orbit, and Azerbaijan will have good conditions for the development of the space industry.
The development of information and communication technologies will define and facilitate our successful future. The sphere of information and communication technologies is a field of knowledge, intellect and, at the same time, business. The operation of the satellite will also help Azerbaijan to address financial issues. So the satellite will also be effective from the economic point of view. At the same time, the development of information and communication technologies determines the overall development of any country. I am sure that everyone will see in the future how important this area is for the development of any country. The sphere of information and communication technologies will be critical for the successful and sustainable development of any country. I am sure of that. I am very happy that all the work in this direction is being done systematically and purposefully. We are doing whatever necessary to make our country stronger and to turn Azerbaijan into an even more modern state. Confirmation of my words is the fact that I have recently signed an order on the creation of the University of Information Technology.
I want to congratulate the people of Azerbaijan on this historic occasion again. This Day, 8 February 2013, will forever remain in the history of Azerbaijan. I am confident that even greater successes will be achieved in this area in the coming years.
Dear compatriots, I cordially congratulate you on this historic occasion. Long live Azerbaijan!
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Then a picture was taken.