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Belarus creating core equipment for Egyptian satellite

MINSK, 28 January (BelTA) – Belarus is creating the core equipment for an Egyptian remote sensing satellite, BelTA learned from Mr Oleg Semenov, Chief Engineer of the enterprise Geoinformation Systems of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.

The Belarusian core equipment will be used by the EgyptSat satellite, which is scheduled for launch in 2014. The satellite will be made by the Russian rocket and space corporation Energia. The Belarusian enterprise is a subcontractor for the project.

The company OAO Peleng is creating the optical and electronic equipment for the satellite. At present the company has $135 million worth of contracts to fulfill, or eight times as much as the prime cost of the Belarusian satellite ($16 million).

Apart from the core equipment the Belarusian side will create the technology to send and process space data. Once the flight tests are complete and the satellite is handed over to the customer, Egypt will use it for proprietary purposes.

Egypt has already launched its own satellites in the past (the first EgyptSat was designed by Ukrainian scientists) but they do not have powerful telescopes. The new satellite will be able to take pictures of the Earth’s surface with nearly one meter resolution. To compare, the resolution of the Belarusian satellite is limited to 2.1 meters. The second Belarusian satellite that will replace the first one is likely to get more powerful core equipment and will be able to take pictures with the resolution of 0.5 meters.

Belarus already has the technology to create powerful orbital telescopes. The high cost of the equipment is the only problem. “The transition even to the one-meter version raises the cost of the equipment not by two or four times but ten times,” remarked Oleg Semenov.

The Belarusian satellite designed to enable the remote sensing of the Earth was launched into outer space from the Baikonur space launch site, Kazakhstan on 22 July 2012. It can now provide satellite images of entire Belarus. With the satellite of its own, Belarus plans to satisfy the domestic demand for satellite images and sell them to other countries. Several countries have already expressed an interest, including Azerbaijan and Venezuela.