TurkmenÄlem52E/MonacoSat in orbit
On Monday, April 27, 2015 at 7:03pm ET (1:05am April 28 in Monaco), Monegasque society Space System International (SSI) was in Cap Canaveral, Florida, for the launching of their first satellite, in the presence of Mme Marie-Pierre Gramaglia, Government Counselor for Equipment, Environment and Urbanism, Andre Saint-Mleux, Director Monaco Telecom SAM, and Christophe Pierre, Director of Electronic Communications.
Falcon 9 lifted off from SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the TurkmenÄlem52E/MonacoSat satellite for Thales Alenia Space. While weather had remained a concern throughout the countdown, weather officers were able to find a window in the clouds and Falcon 9 lifted off without a hitch. This launch represented Falcon 9/s fifth launch in four months and second liftoff in 13 days, beating SpaceX’s previous record by one day.
The satellite TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSAT is located in an geostationary orbital position above the Ecuador, at 52° East, and its ground imprint covers 1,6 billions of people living in a large geographical zone between Central Asia and North Africa.
“The objective is to offer better quality access for telecommunications for the countries under its beam’s coverage, notably Turkmenistan and enable to reduce the numeric fractures of isolated zones” emphasized Marie-Pierre Gramaglia, while congratulating the partners who contributed to the success of this project alongside the Principality: the Government of Turkmenistan; Doctor Ilhami Aygun, General Director of SSI; Thales Alenia Space, the company who manufactured the satellite; SPACE X society who operated the launching.
Genesis and evolution
It was in 2005, the Principality’s government made a demand to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to obtain new geostationary orbital positions. From that date the Principality had 8 years to launch an operational satellite around the terrestrial orbit. From 2005 to 2010 several studies were conducted with private operators specialized in this field. In 2010, Dr Ilhami Aygun, General Director of SSI, responded to the tender invitation for position 52° East. A working group was established to redefine the coverage zones desired, and thus advance the negotiations with the spatial administrators of neighboring networks to define each other’s zones.
In 2011 a tripartite contract was signed among SSI, the Turkmenistan Government and Thales Alenia Space based in Cannes, France, for the construction and launching of the satellite. As Turkmenistan had highly participated in the financing of the construction of the satellite alongside SSI, 2/3 of its transponder capacity will be devoted to them, with the last third dedicated to SSI.
The construction of the satellite TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSAT had been completed during 2014, then shipped by cargo Antonov end of February 2015 for an initial launching programmed for March 21, 2015 in Cap Canaveral. “Today, the success of this launching is a great pride for our country and the success of a fruitful collaboration,” concluded Marie-Pierre Gramaglia.
“Scientists use satellites to track weather, map ice sheet melting, detect diseases, show ecosystem change… the list goes on and on. I think nearly every scientific field benefits or could benefit from satellite imagery analysis.” Sarah Parcak, Space Archeologist