July 09, 2012
Armenia is planning to order a commercial communications satellite from Russia under the terms of a memorandum of understanding signed July 9 during the Farnborough air show.
Vladimir Popovkin, director of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, said the satellite — Armenia’s first — is expected to carry 15 transponders, though details of the satellite’s development and launch are still being negotiated. Popovkin expects a contract to be signed by year-end.
Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan discussed the satellite project with officials from the Russian Central Research Institute of Machine Building in April, according to Armenian news reports. Last year, the U.S. Export-Import Bank agreed to finance development of Azerbaijan’s first national telecommunications satellite, now slated for launch later this year atop an Ariane 5 ECA rocket. Armenian groups in the U.S. voiced opposition to U.S. backing for the satellite, which they said could be used for military purposes.