Satellite Finance's has been swapping emails with Yuri Ismaylov, acting director general Russian Satellite Communications Company.
YI: A lot of significant for RSCC events occurred in 2004. The most important for us is successful realization of Russian Federal Space Program for 2000-2005. Since December 2003 we have launched three new-generation satellites of Express-AM series. At present we are working on the forth and the fifth satellites of the series. I expect RSCC will stick to the schedule and by the middle of 2005 Russia will possess five powerful and capable Express-AM spacecraft.
One more significant point: we have finally deployed terrestrial satellite control system. Now RSCC controls its satellites and offers monitoring and control services to other satellite operators. In 2004 we have won several big tenders, sufficiently broadened the range of our services, considerably leveled up the sales.
Our business is strongly effected by its specific character: the payback of our satellite construction programme is rather great - 7-8 years, sometimes even more. At present RSCC is targeting to achieve the level of international satellite operators as far as the payback is concerned - in the limits of 5-6 years. Besides, we are already capable of compete with any foreign satellite operator.
A lot is done to determine our strategic vision in the context of Federal Space Program up to 2015. We endeavor to plan our business for the next ten years taking into account new technological trends and satellite construction periods.
On the whole RSCC stands by its main targets: to meet state tasks, including mobile presidential and governmental communication, deployment of satellite communications networks for Federal Authorities, federal TV and radio broadcasting, voice and data transmission and broadband Internet access.
I expect RSCC business to develop not only in the sphere of state program implementation, but also in the area of commercial projects realization.
YI: First of all RSCC satellite constellation has changed drastically. Two capable new-generation Express-AM22 (53?East) and Express-AM11 (96,5? East) satellites went into operation in 2004. The third satellite of the series, Expresss-AM1, was successfully launched on October 30, 2004. Thus, for the first time in Russian satellite communications history, we have launched three satellites during one year. RSCC's in-orbit resource has increased more than twice. Gorizont satellites with 8 transponders and 3 years of service life gradually pass into history.
The RSCC satellite fleet today comprises modern Express-A and new-generation Express-AM spacecraft that provide reliable and cost-effective connectivity solutions for customers in Russia and CIS countries. More than that, there is a deep interest in services on Express-AM satellites beyond Russia - in Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific region.
We actively developed not only the space segment, but also terrestrial facilities: two new RSCC teleports in Siberia and the Far East went into operation in 2004. Also, our terrestrial control system and automotised monitoring system for transponders' measurement were deployed in 2004. This has enabled RSCC to increase satellite control reliability and the quality of provided services on Russian communications satellites.
YI: RSCC share in satellite communications market of CIS countries raised from 21% to 35% during 2004. RSCC effectively cooperates with Ukrainian state company "Ukrcosmos" as far as Ukrainian TV broadcasting is concerned. Moreover, we develop a partnership with Azerbaijan company "Space" - RSCC broadcasts national TV and radio programs, transmits data and organizes telephony channels for Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Armenia. Since December 1, 2004 RSCC has started on-line broadcasting of music TV channel across Byelorussia.
YI: Many operators these days consider the potential of VSAT-technologies. In Russia the application of VSAT-technologies in still on a development stage. Our research has shown that there should be a significant increase in this segment in the nearest future as all the necessary prerequisites for VSAT rise and development in Russia are now in place. For example, the price of VSAT equipment continuously goes down while the technical potential is really great. Also, the simplified registration procedure of VSAT terminals also plays an important role in the development. RSCC has stated 22 transponders on new Express-A and Express-AM satellites for the simplified registration. I expect there to be several other legislative decisions that will ensure more opportunities for VSAT development in Russia.
YI: RSCC closely cooperates with Russian and foreign manufactures in the context of satellite design and launching. At present under the order of RSCC, the project of Express-AM satellites creation is carried out in international cooperation between Russian NPO PM, French Alcatel Space and Japanese NEC/Toshiba Space Systems. Besides, in the context of Russian-Kazakh cooperation RSCC conducts the project of Kazakh state communications satellite production in close interaction with Khrunichev State Research & Production Space Center and Italy's Alenia Spacio.
In the future we plan to develop the cooperation with satellite manufactures, as we are now beginning to consider our work on new communications satellite launches up to 2015.
YI: RSCC, taking into account its long experience as a national satellite operator, is a general contractor for the satellite platform, payload and monitoring measurement system for transponders of Kazsat. It is done the context of a joint Russian-Kazakh Program which provides for the design and launch into geostationary orbit of a communications and broadcasting Kazsat satellite.
The Kazsat payload is developed by Alenia Spazio, its satellite platform is manufactured by Khrunichev State Research & Production Space Center, monitoring system for the satellite is designed by Russian system integrator Syrus Systems. After launching, Kazsat will go into operation as a Kazakh state communications satellite operated by Kazakh company. Its monitoring system will be deployed on the base of Accol ground control facilities in Kazakhstan.
YI: RSCC is a federal state unitary enterprise and by law is not allowed to issue shares, because the state property belongs to RSCC on economic jurisdiction