United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), under the mandate of the General Assembly, has been contributing significantly towards building national capacity for sustainable development and strengthening international cooperation to maintain outer space for serving the interests of all the countries.
Since its establishment the Committee has actively promoted efforts aimed at furthering space exploration and at bringing the benefits of space technology in order to ensure sustainable development for all countries. International legal instruments governing space-related activities laid the foundation for the peaceful exploration and use of outer space, provided the legal framework for space activities, established the basic principles which countries must abide by when conducting space activities, and particularly the peaceful uses of outer space principle, the principle of free exploration and utilization of outer space on an equal and non-discriminatory basis as well as the international cooperation principle.
Azerbaijan places considerable importance on developing bilateral and multilateral relations with space agencies and space related bodies with a view to overcoming new scientific and technological challenges and defining international frameworks for exploitation and utilization of outer space for peaceful purposes. In accordance with the Presidential decree dated 17 august 2009 the “State Program on establishment and development of space industry in Azerbaijan” have been adopted, which was stipulated by the Presidential decree dated 4 November 2008 “on Establishment of Space Industry and Placing Telecommunications Satellites in Orbit”.
Following these decisions the Presidential decree dated 3 May 2010 "on establishment of Azerspace Joint Open Stock Company" was issued. OJSC “Azerspace” was established under the Ministry of Communications and IT to launch the satellite into orbit, manage and implement maintenance works. “Council on Aerospace issues” has been established to execute presidential decree "on establishment of Azerspace Open Joint Stock Company".
On 7 February 2013, the French company “Arianespace” successfully launched Azerbaijan’s first telecommunications satellite “Azerspace” into orbit at a spaceport located in French Guiana. The US-based “Orbital Sciences Corporation” produced the satellite under the contract signed with Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies, which is the main shareholder in the country’s national satellite operator, “Azercosmos”. The satellite will provide
communication services to Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Europe and Africa during a pre-determined limited period of 15 years. The satellite is designed to provide digital broadcasting, internet access and data transmission, among other services. Azerbaijan plans to launch two more communication satellites in 2015 and 2016.
Azerbaijan supports development and continuous evolution of rule of law for the peaceful use and exploration of outer space so as to ensure benefits to all countries, in particular to the developing countries. Azerbaijan is a strong supporter of a broader cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. The issues such as capacity building, application- and knowledge-based technology transfer as well as policy implementation are of special interest for Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan, acknowledging the vital importance of the peaceful use of outer space for sustainable development of the countries, has been actively participating as an observer in the work of COPUOS and its Subcommittees since 2003.
In 2003 Azerbaijan was a member of the action team established by the COPUOS for the implementation of the recommendations of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III).
Striving to be an active participant of international outer space cooperation, the Government of Azerbaijan hosted a regional workshop on the applications of Global Navigations Satellite Systems (GNSS) which was held in Baku, Azerbaijan from 11 to 15 May 2009 in the framework of the UN Program on Space Applications, in partnership with the Office for Outer Space Affairs. The Conference addressed, inter alia, the space technology applications such as: remote sensing, precision agriculture, aviation, transport and communications, and e-learning. This workshop also addressed the areas of natural resources management and environmental monitoring by applying GNSS technologies to thematic mapping, forest management and water resources management.
In order to further develop cooperation with COPUOS, the Republic of Azerbaijan applied for the membership in COPUOS which was considered by COPUOS at the 54th session in 2011. In accordance with recommendation of the COPUOS, UN General Assembly on January 12, 2012, adopted a resolution and Azerbaijan became a full-fledged member of the COPUOS among 71 member states.