Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Baku Reaches For The Stars: Azerbaijan Launches First Satellite

An upgraded Ariane-5 rocket blasts off from Kourou in French Guiana in 2005.
An upgraded Ariane-5 rocket blasts off from Kourou in French Guiana in 2005.
Azerbaijan's first telecommunications satellite has been launched into orbit.

The Caspian Sea country's Communications and Information Technologies Ministry told the Interfax news agency that the launch was without incident.

The "Azerspace-1/Africasat-1a" blasted off aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou in French Guiana.

"The launch of Azerbaijan's first telecommunications satellite marks an important milestone in the successful partnership with U.S. industry and the government of Azerbaijan," Azerbaijani Ambassador to the United States Elin Suleymanov told reporters on February 7, the day before the historic mission.

At an estimated cost of $120 million, the spacecraft was designed, built, and tested by the Orbital Sciences Corporation, a Virginia-based technology company specializing in satellite and space-launch systems.

"Azerspace-1/Africasat-1a" reportedly carries a payload of 36 transponders that will provide telecommunications services to Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and North Africa.

Its systems are designed to support digital broadcasting, Internet access, data transmission, and governmental communications.

Now that the satellite has been launched it will undergo in-orbit testing before being put into operation on an orbital path leased from Malaysia's Measat Satellite Systems.

It is expected to have a service life of 15 years.

Azerbaijan's move into the satellite communications sector is being seen by many as an effort to diversify its hydrocarbon-based economy.

In 2009, a national agency was set up with the approval of President Ilham Aliyev to help develop the country's space industry.

Nonetheless, some experts have expressed doubt that Baku will have the technological wherewithal to compete in the global satellite market with major players such as the United States, Russia, and China.

Although some Azerbaijani sites were used for the Soviet space program, these facilities are now out of date.

Consequently, special centers have been built in Baku and the Naxcivan exclave to provide ground-control systems for Azerbaijani spacecraft.

Baku plans to launch a second satellite in 2016.

-- RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service and the Central Newsroom
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Namik from: Baku
February 07, 2013 16:03
the correct heading would be "Israel and the US are launching a satellite for Azerbaijan to boost Ilham Aliyev's image."
In Response

by: RD
February 07, 2013 19:16
It is understandable. Ilham Aliyev needs all the help in the world to divert the attention away from him for being a thief, an inept and corrupt leader to launching a sattelite, hosting Eurovision and European games, paying foreign governments to erect statues of his dead dictator father. All this while plundders his country's wealth.
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
February 07, 2013 19:21
And now the azeri sultanate of Ali Baba Ilham will launch a manned space shuttle to carry Ali BabaIlham Alievich and his gang of 40 thieves as far away from the Earth,once the arab spring in Syria get going.It will have a tremendous cargo compartment to carry all the loot Aliewitch and company have plundered during their misrule of northern Persia.There have been talks with the Swiss government about opening a Swiss Bank of azerbyebyedjan on Mars-we shall launder any amount of money-no questions asked,thank you!!!
In Response

by: KN from: Boston, MA
February 08, 2013 02:24
Caeml, people are having normal discussion here. There is no need for imbecility.
In Response

by: ME from: NY
February 08, 2013 03:33
What if they put Alyiev in the satellite and send him to the moon.

by: Lucy Smith from: London, UK
February 07, 2013 20:57
It seems now Aliyev thinks space is an Azerbaijani territory occupied by Armenia and wants to launch a satellite to 'liberate' it. It's more likely Azerbaijanis set foot on the Moon than in Nagorno Karabakh.
In Response

by: K. from: F.
February 08, 2013 11:42
Lucy Smith, Karabakh is another issue. Don't mess up two different things. I know your big armenian nose doesn't let you sleep calm.
In Response

by: Ray from: Los Angeles
February 08, 2013 19:06
Bashing others on the internet!? How much lower can you go? Grow up, why don't you!
In Response

by: john from: toronto
February 09, 2013 02:53
exactly lucy. Aliev gangsters think the moon and the stars is turkish too. why else would anyone have it on their fake flag of a fake country. LOL
In Response

by: Ekrem from: Boston
February 11, 2013 06:10
Right. Aliyev and Azeris not the same. Aliyev stays in power just because he hides his corrupt money in UK and we know that. Armenians stay in Karabakh just as long as Aliyev stays in Baku or they hope so.
In Response

by: Ben
February 08, 2013 12:30
Lucy Smith,how do you distinguish from London the two tiny countries of your love and hate? Do you defend "Nagorno karabakh" for your Armenian friend,or your previous surname was different?
In Response

by: Ray from: Los Angeles
February 08, 2013 19:08
Preach on sister!

Aliyev will never attack Naghorno Karabakh, mostly because his money making pipelines might get blown up in the process. oops, did I say that too loud?
In Response

by: Ekrem from: Boston
February 11, 2013 02:32
Dear Lucy,
If you think that Karabakh somehow related to Aliyev you are right. As soon as we get rid of Him we well definitely came back to Karabakh. You don't no us - Azeris, not all of us like Aliyev no matter what the hope of Armenians is.

by: Lucy Smith from: London, UK
February 08, 2013 22:24
Thanks guys for your replies to my comment. You have convinced me Azerbaijanis need a space adventure as a distraction from their military defeat in Nagorno Karabakh.

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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