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Kazakhstan's first satellite to be launched June 18

MOSCOW, June 17 (RIA Novosti) - The launch of Kazakhstan's first satellite KazSat is scheduled for June 18, a spokesman for Russia's federal space agency said Saturday.

He said the launch of the satellite on board a Russian Proton-K carrier rocket with DM-3 booster would take place at 2.44 a.m. Moscow time (10.44 p.m. GMT).

The launch was originally scheduled for December 2005, but was postponed until the first half of 2006 due to technical problems.

KazSat was built by Russia's Khrunichev center under a 2004 contract with the Kazakh government.

The geostationary satellite is equipped with 10-12 receiving and transmitting devices, and is designed to provide TV broadcast and communications for Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and part of Russia.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said in late May that that the forthcoming launch would be a landmark as it meant Kazakhstan would join the space club.

"The launch of Kazakhstan's first satellite will be a historical event for Kazakhstan," Nazarbayev said. "The country will join the ranks of the space powers."

Kazakh Prime Minister Danial Akhmetov said in November 2005 that his country planned to establish its presence in space by building a group of satellites for telecommunications, geological surveying and earth remote sensing.

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