Bulgaria's first satellite launched into space
1 July, 2017
Bulgaria’s first communications satellite, BulgariaSat-1, was successfully launched into geostationary orbit in the evening of 23 June, international newswires reported. The liftoff was from a launch complex at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in the state of Florida.
The teams involved in the project have already been congratulated by President Rumen Radev and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.
BulgariaSat-1 is the first private and second ever Bulgarian satellite to be launched into space. The first, Interkosmos-Bulgaria-1300, was launched on 7 August 1981 and is no longer circulating around the Earth.
The liftoff of BulgariaSat-1 satellite was at 10.10am Bulgarian time on 23 June from Cape Canaveral space centre in Florida, using as vehicle the Falcon 9 rocket made by the private US company SpaceX. It successfully reached the Earth’s orbit 35 minutes after its launch. Ground controllers have established contact with the satellite, which began transmitting signals several minutes after its detachment from the rocket. Following a series of corrections to its trajectory, BulgariaSat-1 will be positioned on geostationary orbit at about 35,800km above the equator and start transmitting TV signal to Bulgaria, Serbia and the Balkans. The satellite has a lifecycle of about 15 years. The entire BulgariaSat-1 project costs $235m, Maxim Zayakov, chief executive officer of the Bulgarian company Bulsatcom said.
Initially scheduled for 17 June, the launch got delayed by a precautionary replacement of a faulty valve. BulgariaSat-1 will provide television and communications services directly to households on the Balkans and in other European regions. The satellite is compatible with 4G LTE network in the 1800 MHz band. In addition to provider of television and communications services, BulgariaSat-1 can also be used in emergency situations when ground networks crash because of natural disasters such as earthquakes, storms or floods, for example. The satellite weighs 4 tonnes and is 26-metre long. Some 24 Bulgarian experts will monitor its operation from a control centre based in the country. This achievement makes Bulgaria the only CEE country with its own geostationary orbit telecommunications satellite.