[Satellite TODAY 05-27-10] The Azerbaijan Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies has signed a contract with Orbital Sciences Corp. to build Azerbaijan’s first national satellite, Orbital announced May 27. Orbital Sciences Corporation will produce the satellite over 26 months. Azerbaijan plans to launch the synchronous space telecommunications satellite between July and August 2012. The country will use the satellite to start developing its space industry. “I understand that this contract is only the start. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies and Orbital company plan to establish long and fruitful connections that will strengthen Azerbaijan specialists’ technical abilities,” Azerbaijan Ambassador to the United States Donald Lu said in a statement. Azerbaijan also signed a long-term lease agreement with Measat for use of a Malaysian orbital slot to support the new satellite. Financial details of the contracts were not disclosed.