Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP has advised Azercosmos, Azerbaijan’s space agency and first satellite operator, on a project worth USD 230 million to successfully launch the Azerspace/Africasat 1a satellite.
The satellite blasted off from the Kourou Space Centre in French Guyana successfully on 7 February and is designed to provide high bandwidth communications capacity across Europe, Central Asia and Africa. The launch represented a new record for the weight of the satellites placed in orbit by an Ariane 5 launch vehicle.
Fieldfisher Communications and Technology partner John Worthy led the firm’s team on the deal, assisted by Finance partner Andrew Evans, Employment & Pensions partner James Warren, associates Sarah Reid, Hannah Salton, Sarah Wheeler and Lee Harding.
John and the team have advised Azercosmos and the Azerbaijan Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies on the project since 2009. This included setting up an innovative joint venture with Measat, one of the leading Malaysian satellite operators, followed by the satellite procurement with Orbital Sciences Corporation and the launch services agreement with Arianespace. In addition, the firm advised on international regulatory issues, employment contracts and the export credit financing provided by BNP Paribas and US Export/Import Bank.
John Worthy said:
"This is the first venture into space for Azerbaijan and is key to the development of the country's communications infrastructure. The launch of this satellite represents a major success for the firm's satellite practice and highlights our increasing profile as one of the leading law firms in the satellite sector."
The firm's satellite team's experience covers advice on satellite projects around the world, including recent projects in the UK, Russia, Turkmenistan, Angola and Australia, providing a high profile addition to the firm's market leading telecoms and technology practice.
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