July 19, 2008

Azerbaijan Plans to Conclude Contracts By Oct 2008 to Launch Telecom Satellite in 2010

BAKU. July 19 (Interfax) - The Azeri Communications and Information Technology Ministry plans to conclude contracts by October 2008 on launching its own communications satellite AzerSat into space in 2010.

"We have already studied proposals from various companies, selected two of them and submitted them to the Cabinet of ministers for consideration. We will conclude contracts in August or September at the latest in order to launch the AzerSat satellite into space in 2010 and do certain work to launch a second artificial satellite into space," Communications and Information Technology Minister Ali Abbasov said at a ministry board session on Saturday.

The minister did not specify companies that would be engaged in launching the satellite. "This is a commercial secret so far, but these are companies from world leaders," he said.

Azerbaijan has already solved the problem of acquiring an orbital position for its satellite, he said.

"Turkey has helped us a lot in this issue. As all positions on the space orbit are now occupied, Turkey has rented us its best 50th position in geostationary orbit on certain conditions," he said.

Abbasov had said earlier that Azerbaijan planned to launch its own satellite AzerSat into space in the first half of 2010. The ministry did not rule out that it could pursue other projects to turn Azerbaijan into a country with a developed space industry.

Communications and Information Technology Ministry experts believe the possession of a national satellite would enable Azerbaijan to build high-quality and reliable communication and television networks and increase the number of TV channels broadcasting in the country. This suggested that, if AzerSat covers European territory, Azerbaijan would be able to act as a transit country in broadcasting European and Asian channels.

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