Uzbekistan Planning First Satellite
Tashkent, Uzbekistan/May 18, 2001/Satnews/ --
Uzbekistan plans to launch a communications and military satellite
sometime next year, the country's top space official said Thursday.
The satellite, the first for Uzbekistan, will orbit
close to the earth and be used for communications and to observe territory
in the country and surrounding regions, said Kamol Muminov, director of
the Uzbekkosmos space agency.
He said the craft will be used for both peaceful
purposes and for national security.
Muminov said "intensive work" on the project
has begun, and that Uzbekistan is cooperating with the United States, the
European Union and Russia.
He did not say how much the project would cost the
impoverished Central Asian nation. It was also unclear where the satellite
would lift off from, as Uzbekistan has no launch pads of its own.
Uzbekistan shared in the Soviet Union's rich investment
in science and education, and developed expertise in space and other
technical fields despite the economic hardship of recent years.
Uzbekistan's armed forces have faced incursions from
Islamic insurgents based in Afghanistan and neighboring Tajikistan over
high mountain passes. It was not clear if the satellite would be used to
help combat the guerrilla movement.
to the Home Page