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Belarusian Communication Satellite

  • This article describes the process of international cooperation and resulting problems with the example of the Belarusian communication satellite.

Description

This article describes the process of international cooperation and resulting problems with the example of the Belarusian communication satellite. The reason for choosing the Belarusian case is that the information of this case is relatively complete, and there are more special events in the case which are worth learning from.


(1) Basic information

In 2010, China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) learned that Belarus required a communication satellite to serve the national economy and people's livelihood. Belarus is located in the eastern part of Europe and has a good education and industrial foundation. For a long time, China and Belarus have established mutual trust and had frequent communications. In recent years, China's space satellite manufacturing industry has developed rapidly and the technology has reached the international advanced level. All these factors have laid a solid foundation for cooperation between China and Belarus in the field of aerospace.

Belarus invited companies from China, Russia and Italy to participate in the bidding. Belarus required that the partner should keep good performance records, and provide funds as well as participate in operations and share risks to ensure the full power use of the satellite. CGWIC made adequate preparations and actively participated in bidding activity organized by Belarus.

The bidding ended on February 28, 2011. After nearly a month of waiting, Belarus announced that CGWIC won the bid. CGWIC subsequently received an official confirmation letter from the Belarusian Communication Satellite Bidding Committee and became a supplier of the Belarusian communication satellite. The two sides then negotiated technical and business details of the communication satellite. On September 18, 2011, CGWIC and the Republican Production Unitary Enterprise "Precision Electromechanical Plant" signed a communication satellite project contract in Minsk, Belarus. China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation would provide and launch a communication satellite for Belarus. The Belarusian Communication Satellite I is the first communication satellite owned by Belarus and is mainly used for broadcasting, television, telecommunication, distance education, and broadband multimedia services in Belarus and its coverage areas.

(2) Negotiation points and solutions

At the initial stage of negotiation, the Belarusian side proposed an array of requirements for platform and payload technologies and system performance to the Chinese side, including coordinated solution to satellite orbital frequencies, equipped with 40-channel transponders, designed in-orbit service life of 15 years, project financing conditions, and so on. In response to the specific needs of the Belarusian side, the Chinese side was prepared to provide "space-ground integrated" system solutions such as communication satellite, launch service, satellite ground TT&C station, satellite ground application system, related training, and orbital frequency coordination. The Chinese side would also work with the Belarusian side on the joint operation of the satellite, in order to achieve one-stop development of project construction and system operation.

In 2011, witnessed by leaders of the two countries, China signed a framework contract with Belarus and Belarus hoped to procure a communication satellite from China. In the following year, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation and Belarusian related departments met several times, finalizing one by one satellite technical indicators and related technical appendixes to the work tasks.

In June 2012, a delegation of the Presidential Office of Belarus, headed by Vladimir Mackay, visited China Academy of Space Technology. The two sides exchanged views on strengthening cooperation in the aerospace field and advancing existing cooperation projects. In July 2013, the contract between Belarus and China on the Belarusian communication satellite formally came into force. According to the contract, the lead time of the Belarusian communication satellite was 28 months.

In general, the key to the success of the Belarusian communication satellite is that CGWIC proposed a turnkey solution that met the needs of the customer, while the solutions of other aerospace companies were not comprehensive. As a general contractor, CGWIC has a number of advantages such as good satellite-rocket compatibility, highly efficient technical coordination, increasing reliability, competitive prices, and excellent services. It is these advantages that make CGWIC stood out in front of many competitors.