Kazakhstan launches first sat

19 Jun 2006

(Associated Press WorldStream via NewsEdge) Kazakhstan has sent its first satellite, KazSat 1, into space, its first step toward fulfilling its ambitions to join the elite club of space-exploring nations.

The Central Asian nation of 15 million is home to the world's largest space center, the Baikonur cosmodrome. It has been leasing the Soviet-built facility to Russia , but now Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev wants his nation to build its own space industry.

The Kazakh government's ambition is fueled by its post-Soviet economic success, pumped up by oil-dollars.

KazSat 1 is a geostationary satellite designed to provide TV broadcast and communications for Kazakhstan , Uzbekistan , Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan .

c 2006 The Associated Press.

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