Azerspace: Azerbaijan's first satellite to be launched

Azerbaijan's first satellite Azerspace/Africasat-1a will be launched on 7 February 2013 with the Ariane 5 rocket from the spaceport in French Guiana. The pre-launch checkout is underway, as Satnews reported.

Azerspace/Africasat-1a was designed and built by Orbital Sciences Corporation based on its STAR-2 platform, under contract to the Republic of Azerbaijan's Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies—which is the sole shareholder in the country's national satellite operator, Azercosmos.

Carrying 36 active C- and Ku-band transponders, the spacecraft is to provide communications services to Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Europe and Africa from an orbital location of 46 deg. East. Azerspace/Africasat-1 will weigh approximately 3,250kg. at liftoff, and has a designed mission life of 15 years.