ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s first Earth remote sensing satellite was launched from the Kuru Spaceport in Guiana on April 28 at 22:35 local time, the press service of Kazcosmos reported.
According to a press release, the satellite, KazEOSat-1 (Kazakhstan Earth Observation Satellite 1), was constructed, as per Kazcosmos specifications, by the French company Airbus Defence and Space (formerly called EADS Astrium). KazEOSat-1 is meant to offer the whole spectrum of Earth remote sensing services, including transmitting pictures of Kazakhstan and other territories taken from space in order to predict and prevent natural hazards, carry out land surveys, support map-making activities and generally monitor the country’s landmass.
KazEOSat-1 was put into sun-synchronous orbit (about 700 kilometres from Earth) by the European missile carrier Vega. The satellite consists of two space vehicles, one of high and one of medium spatial resolution. There are also above-ground target and space vehicle administration complexes in Astana.
A second satellite, of medium spatial resolution (KazEOSat-2), was constructed by the same French company in cooperation with British Surrey Satellite Technology, Ltd. (SSTL). The launch of the above-ground complex in Astana is scheduled for July 2014.
Within the framework of the Kazakh-French contract for satellite construction, 50 engineers from Kazakhstan took internships in France and the U.K., learning about satellite management and space photo processing, skills they will use at the new Astana complex.
A Kazakh delegation headed by Chairman of the National Space Agency Talgat Mussabayev took part in the launch in Guiana.
Kuru Spaceport is on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, 60 km from Guiana’s capital, Cayenne. The spaceport’s location was chosen in 1964 by the French government. The spaceport launched its first satellite in April 1968.