TürkmenÄlem 52°E/MonacoSat is a joint telecommunication satellite project the Turkmenistan Ministry of Communication (MOC) and National Space Agency (NSA), together with Space Systems International – Monaco S.A.M. (SSI-Monaco).
The contract was signed on November 18th, 2011 in Ashgabat in Turkmenistan between the MOC and SSI-Monaco for the use of the 52°E SSI position. Thales Alenia Space was contracted for the manufacturing of the satellite, construction of the ground segment and the launch.
TürkmenÄlem 52°E/MonacoSat (formerly referred to as TurkmenSat-1) is Turkmenistan’s first satellite as well as the first telecommunication satellite for Principauté de Monaco. Turkmenistan and Monaco became the first satellite operator in their countries. The satellite was launched on a Falcon 9 rocket operated by launch operator SpaceX from Cape Canaveral on 27 April 2015 and operates at 52° East in the geostationary orbit, providing services in key regions such as Europe, Central Asia, North-Africa and Middle-East covering 1.6 billion people located in 90 different countries.
With an anticipated lifespan of 15 years , the satellite is operated under supervison of the Turkmenistan National Space Agency (TNSA) and controlled by the Principality of Monaco. The satellite includes 12 transponders that are referred to and commercialised as MonacoSAT as well as the 26 transponders referred to as TürkmenÄlem. Wide Network Solutions is the satellite’s biggest commercial operator.
Closed Joint-Stock Company “Turkmen hemrasy” is the commercial satellite operator of TürkmenÄlem 52°E satellite in Turkmenistan.
Since the companies establishment in 2015, it has been providing first-class transponder leasing, DTH, satellite news gathering, broadcasting, teleport and networks services. Due to wide coverage area of TürkmenÄlem 52°E satellite and terrestrial infrastructure, the company has become an important satellite resource for Europe, Russia CIS and Middle-East regions.
In 2009, Space Systems International Monaco S.A.M. (SSI-Monaco) signed a license agreement with the Monaco government for the development and use of the 52°E orbital position for the MonacoSAT project.
In November 2011, the Turkmenistan Ministry of Communications signed agreements with Thales Alenia Space to build the first TurkmenSpace satellite of the Turkmenistan NSSC (National System of Satellite Communications) program, and with SSI-Monaco to use the 52°E position, including the right for SSI-Monaco to use 12 Ku-band transponders on the satellite as MonacoSAT.
The satellite was originally intended to be launched on a Chinese Long March 3B rocket, operated by launch operator CGWIC, but International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) prevented some US-made parts being exported to China for the launch. The launch was switched to SpaceX in June 2013 for launching the satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket.
The launch was first scheduled for March 21st, 2015 but was delayed due to a possible problem with a helium pressurisation system on the Falcon 9 rocket. The subsequent launch was executed on April 27th, 2015.
In September 2020 MonacoSat announced to order a second satellite, called MonacoSat-2. The satellite will be fully software defined and will provide communications services in Ka-band frequencies.
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