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First Azerbaijani Satellite Launched, Two More Planned in 2015-2016

Azerbaijan launched its first communications satellite as it seeks to develop information technology to diversify its economy beyond energy.

Azerbaijan plans to launch two more communications satellite in 2015 and 2016, President Ilham Aliyev said in an address to the nation.

The Azerspace/Africasat-1a satellite was carried into orbit by an Arianespace Inc. spacecraft at 6:36 p.m. in Cayenne, French Guiana.

The Azerspace/Africasat-1a will provide communications services to Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Europe and Africa, said Orbital Sciences Corp., the Dulles, Virginia-based company that designed and built the satellite. Orbital will be responsible for providing the satellite and ground systems, it said.

Azerbaijan's goal is to double the non-oil sectors of the economy in the next decade.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology ordered its first satellite in June 2010, under a contract worth $205 million, according to the Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington. It will transmit from an orbital location at 46 degrees east longitude, Orbital said.

Source: Bloomberg

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