China to Launch the first Turkmen Communication Satellite
Sunday 25 November 2012
ASHGABAT (Trend news agency) – A Turkmen delegation visited Sichuan province to attend the launch ceremony of ChinaSat-12 communications satellite, and hold talks on the exchange of experiences in the development of satellite systems.
- The launch of Long March 3B Rocket, Xichang Satellite Center, China.
The Long March 3B (Chang Zheng 3B), also known as the CZ-3B and LM-3B, is a Chinese orbital carrier rocket. Introduced in 1996, it is launched from Launch Area 2 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan. A three-stage rocket with four strap-on liquid rocket boosters, it is currently the most powerful member of the Long March rocket family and the heaviest of the Long March 3 rocket family, and is mainly used to place communications satellites into geosynchronous orbits. At the time of its introduction, the Long March 3B was the second-most-capable expendable launch system in the world, after the Russian Proton. An enhanced version, the Long March 3B/E, was introduced in 2007 to increase the rocket’s GTO cargo capacity and lift heavier GEO communications satellites. As of September 2012, the Long March 3B and 3B/E have conducted 20 successful launches.
Headed by Alladurdy Atayev, chairman of the Turkmen National Space Agency, the delegation arrived to China for a working visit running on November 21-24. The main purpose of the visit was the preparation of the launch of the first Turkmen satellite. The launch is scheduled in 2014 for a 15 years lifetime and will be carried out using a Chang Zheng-3B (“Long March”) rocket.
In November 2011, the French Thales Alenia Space won the first Turkmenistan bid to deliver a satellite within the Spacebus 4000 family, as well as all the fixings – ground stations and associated services. The satellite, of around 10 KW power and above 4.5 tons’ launch mass, will carry Ku transponders covering large beams over Central Asia Region. Some Spacebus satellites are built using alternatives to US ITAR-controlled components, making it one of a few Western satellites that can be launched by Chinese Long March rockets.
Telecoms, mobile and Internet market in Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan’s telecommunications services are considered to be the least developed of all the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. Overall, the telecom market in this predominantly rural country is relatively small but has been trying boldly to expand in recent years. The state-owned Turkmen Telecom has been the primary provider of public telephone, email and internet services, and through a subsidiary has been operating a GSM mobile network in competition with a private mobile operator, BCT (BCT became MTS Turkmenistan in 2005).
The mobile market was thrown into turmoil in December 2010 and coming into 2011 after the government suspended MTC’s mobile licence and then decided not to renew the operator’s mobile concession. MTS had been by far the dominant mobile operator up to that stage with around 80% of the mobile market. It had also rolled out a substantial network, covering around 85% of Turkmenistan’s territory.
Growth of the internet sector had been seriously stifled back in 2000 when the four existing independent ISPs were forced out of business due to the government’s decision to grant Turkmen Telecom a monopoly over data services. However, the incoming president, Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, announced in early 2007 that the government had re-opened internet cafes in the capital Ashgabat and was set to follow this move in regional centres. One hour of computer time cost about US $4.