On 28 April the KazEOSat-1 (formerly known as DZZ-HR), built by Airbus Defence and Space, was launched into low Sun-synchronous orbit (about 700 km from Earth) on-board a Vega launcher from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

KazEOSat-1 is the Republic of Kazakhstan’s first Earth observation satellite. It is a very high-resolution (1 m) satellite weighing 900 kg that will provide the Republic of Kazakhstan with a complete range of civil applications, including monitoring of natural and agricultural resources, the provision of mapping data, security applications, and support for rescue operations.

“Like the most advanced space systems that we have built, namely Gaia, Herschel and SPOT 6, KazEOSat-1 benefits from cutting-edge technologies, new avionics, silicon carbide, a large aperture and an agile platform,” said François Auque, Head of Space Systems. “Furthermore, through our training programme, we have transferred our knowledge to the engineers from Kazakhstan who will operate the satellite, enabling Kazakhstan to control the satellite completely autonomously, and collect and use the images provided by the satellite.”

KazEOSat-1 is the high-resolution element of a space observation system that will comprise two satellites and their ground segment. The medium-resolution satellite, KazEOSat-2, is built by SSTL, a British subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space.

These two satellites form part of “Kazakhstan’s Space Plan”, which also includes the construction in Astana, the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, of a satellite integration and test centre, for which key equipment is being supplied by Airbus Defence and Space. In 2009, Airbus Defence and Space was chosen by Kazakhstan as a strategic partner in this Space Plan, and has already trained 60 engineers and technicians from Kazakhstan. Airbus Defence and Space and the joint stock company Kazakhstan Garysh Sapary, a national company under the supervision of the National Space Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan, have formed a joint-venture named Ghalam in order to run this centre.

KazEOSat-1 is the latest in a line of satellites based on the Astrobus platform, including technologies combining performance, quick delivery and high value for money, designed for missions as varied as imaging (Pléiades, SPOT 6 & 7, Ingenio, and others), environmental monitoring (Sentinel-2) and meteorology (Sentinel-5p). This state-of-the-art system also benefits from the expertise developed by Airbus Defence and Space in the field of silicon carbide (SiC) space structures and instruments. The SiC produced in the Midi-Pyrénées region is exported worldwide.