One More Giant Step for Kazakhstan as KazSat-2 Satellite Placed Into Orbit
July 22. MFA
KazSat-2, Kazakhstan’s second national communication satellite has been successfully placed into the near-earth orbit. After being launched aboard an International Launch Services (ILS) Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in south-western Kazakhstan on the night of July 16, the satellite successfully separated from the Proton rocket’s Breeze M upper stage approximately eight hours after the liftoff.
Prior to the launch, representatives of the government including Prime Minister Karim Massimov arrived at Baikonur to watch the blast off. Thanks to the satellite, in the near future Kazakhstan will be able to use a modern and reliable communication satellite.
The KazSat-2 has been built by Russia’s Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre, who say the satellite will serve for at least 12 years. The project witnessed several revisions from the moment of signing of the agreement on the creation of the satellite in 2006. One of the reasons was the unsuccessful experience with the KazSat-1, with which the final contact was lost in December 2008. As a result, the requirements for acceptance of a spacecraft KazSat-2 have been raised, while the second satellite received completely new hardware components and a new management algorithm. It also became more energy intensive and the number of transmitters increased to 20. The total capacity of transmitter-responders increased to 4.5 kilowatts, which will allow processing larger amounts of data.
Currently, the country’s broadcasters are using foreign satellites. Having its own communication satellite, Kazakhstan will be able to tackle a number of problems with information support, as well as expand the range of information services such as the electronic government, the Internet and mobile communications.
During one month, the KazSat-2 will be drifting to the point of 86.5 degrees of East longitude, and during the next two months the satellite will be undergoing testing. It is expected that the transfer of the handling of the satellite to the national centre of space communication will happen this October.
Together with the Kazakhstan satellite, the USA has launched the SES-3 telecommunication satellite on board of the same aircraft.
For the first time everyone interested in watching the start live was able to do it online at the Prime Minister’s official website, as well as read the latest news, commentaries, and view photos of the launch. Three of the most popular and active users of social networking and blogging in Kazakhstan have been selected, who witnessed the launch and published their impressions of this major event in their Twitter accounts.
Finally, Kazakhstan has recently ratified the KazSat-3 satellite construction and its development at the Air Show at Le Bourget in France, and the Kazakh National Space Agency is planning the launch in 2013.
Baikonur is the world’s first and largest operational space launch facility established in the country in 1955. The expense of building the spaceport as well as several hundred kilometres of new roads and train lines made the construction one of the most costly infrastructure projects the Soviet Union had ever undertaken. By 1966, a supporting town Baikonur (formerly Leninsk) was built around the facility to provide housing, schools and support infrastructure for its workers. The shape of the area is an ellipse measuring 90 kilometres east to west by 85 kilometres north to south, with the spaceport at the centre.
Today, Baikonur is fully equipped with facilities for launching both manned and unmanned spacecraft, and continues to remain a busy spaceport with numerous commercial, military and scientific missions launched annually. Cosmonauts and astronauts of many different nations and generations have started their historic journeys from the Kazakh land, including the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin.
After the breakup of the USSR in 1991, the Russian space programme continues to operate from Baikonur under the auspices of the Commonwealth of Independent States. On 8 June 2005, an agreement between Russia and Kazakhstan extending Russia’s rent term of the spaceport until 2050 was ratified.
In 2004, Kazakhstan and Russia signed a contract on the establishment of a joint venture “Russia-Kazakhstan Baiterek” at Baikonur, in which each country holds a 50 percent stake. The goal of the project is the construction of the Baiterek Space Launch Complex to facilitate operations of the Angara rocket launcher. In accordance with the agreement, Kazakhstan’s Government is obliged to allot a budget credit of US$ 225 million for the period of 19 years to the Baiterek joint enterprise, which is the major international project in space industry within the former Soviet states.