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Azerbaijan Considers Launching New Satellite into Orbit

By Gunay Hajiyeva September 1, 2021

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Currently, Azercosmos operates three satellites, including Azerspace-1 and Azerspace-2 telecommunication satellites, and Azersky observation satellite. / Azercosmos

Azerbaijan is exploring opportunities to launch another satellite into the Earth’s orbit, the country’s ministry of transport, communications, and high technologies reported on Tuesday.

Azerbaijan’s state-run satellite operator Azercosmos is currently conducting market research to study the feasibility of launching a remote sensing satellite.

“Currently, intensive work is underway to use the resources of Azerspace-1, Azerspace-2, and Azersky satellites for more active commercial purposes,” Report.Az quoted the ministry as saying.

“At the same time, marketing research is being carried out to ensure the sustainability of Earth observation satellite services in our country. In this regard, Azercosmos is working to establish requirements for a new Earth observation system in Azerbaijan.”

The ministry is now exploring options to operate the system as a group consisting of several small satellites.

As part of the research, Azerbaijan can set up a modern center of satellite integration and testing to facilitate the launch of new satellites into orbit.

Remote sensing allows observing and analyzing objects from a distance without being in direct contact with them. The most common remote sensing systems measure reflected visible light in addition to electromagnetic radiation that is invisible to the human eye, including ultraviolet (UV), infrared (IR), or microwave radiation. Remote sensors, which are usually mounted on satellites or aircraft, collect data by detecting the energy reflected from Earth.

Azercosmos is the one and only satellite operator in the South Caucasus region. The state-owned company currently operates two telecommunication and one observation satellite. Azerspace-1 is the primary satellite of Azercosmos, providing highly reliable broadband and broadcast solutions to millions of people living in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. The satellite was launched in February 2013 and is equipped with 24 C-band transponders and 12 Ku-band transponders and is located at 46° East longitude.

Since December 2014, Azercosmos operates and commercializes Azersky, a high-resolution optical Earth observation satellite. In 2018, the third in general, but the second in the light of telecommunication satellites of Azercosmos - Azerspace 2 was sent into a geostationary orbit 45° East longitude. It renders uninterrupted digital broadcasting, data transmission, and other services across Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Azerspace 2 is also used as a backup for Azerspace-1.

In January-July 2021, Azercosmos exported satellite telecommunications services and optical satellite services worth $28.7 million to 31 countries. Revenues from the export generated 92 percent of the operator’s total income. In July 2021, 24 countries paid $6.7 million for the services of the Azerbaijani satellites.

The top buyers’ list in January-July 2021 includes the United States with $9.6 million, the United Kingdom with $5.8 million, France with $5.6 million, Malaysia with $3.7 million, and the United Arab Emirates with $1 million.