Azerspace-1 satellite completes test operation, ready for commercial use

Satellite operator Azercosmos has now taken full control over Azerspace-1 satellite, the first Azerbaijani telecommunications spacecraft, after finishing the test operation period — making the satellite ready for commercial use.

Azerspace-1 was sent into space on February 8 aboard the Ariane 5 ECA rocket carrier from the ELA-3 launch facility at the Guiana Space Centre. The Azercosmos-managed satellite is controlled by specialists from the main control center near Baku, as well as an additional control center in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan.

The telecommunications satellite, which costs about $230 million, will be raking in revenues starting May 1, according to Communications and Information Technologies Minister Ali Abbasov. The satellite project included expenses on the construction of ground control stations, insurance costs, staff training and launching.

Azercosmos expects the satellite to generate approximately $500-600 million in a span of 15 years, where 20 percent will be used to address Azerbaijan’s needs, and the remaining 80 percent will be used for commercial purposes. The agency also plans to launch two more Azerbaijani satellites — a low-orbit satellite and another telecommunications satellite — which are scheduled to take place in 2015 and 2016.

Azerspace-1 satellite was specifically designed to provide digital broadcasting services, data transmission, Internet access, create multi-service VSAT networks and provide for governmental communication.

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