Azerbaijan, Taking Off
I’m not entirely sure how launching this satellite in two years is going to help Azerbaijan, but it will be up there, ominously floating. Today.Az reports that Azerbaijan’s government is building a satellite for launch in June of 2012. The satellite, not yet in existence, even has a Wikipedia page. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, it seems a little strange that I’m serving in a country that is building $200 million satellites. I don’t think I was expecting to be put in a country with such gaudy oil wealth. While the investment in this satellite is probably smart, it’s still a little disheartening to see this sort of development take priority over improving a terrible school or health system.
The satellite, AzerSat-1, supposedly will save Azerbaijan a few million AZN, and they can make money by renting out the tech space:
Presently, Azerbaijan annually spends millions of dollars to rent foreign satellite transponders for communications and broadcasting. Launching a national satellite will cut costs. The payback period is about five-seven years. Azerbaijan’s capital investment in the project is approximately 319 million manat; 127 million will be spent on operating costs. The payback period is six years, and the income will reach 176 million manat.
If you click that link, watch out for the last few sentences. The ‘176 million manat’ figure gets mangled a few times.