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Armenia’s President Signs Package Of Space Activity Laws

Photograph courtesy of new armenia.org

The president of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian, signed into law a package of space activity legislation on 26 March 2020 that amend existing laws and regulations to expand state and commercial space activity in Armenia.

President Sarkissian signed legislation that supplements the Armenian tax code, state duty law, licensing law, administrative offences code, and the law on government structure and activities in order facilitate expanded space activity in the South Caucasus country.

In particular, the legislative package potentially opens the way for the creation of a governmental entity to oversee and coordinate Armenian space activities, as well as the manufacturing of space technologies, official studies on the use and applications of space technologies, and the acquisition, distribution, and use of satellite imagery and other space-derived data in Armenia.

President Sarkissian is especially keen on international participation in his science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational and economic development initiative called Advanced Tomorrow (ATOM). President Sarkissian, it should be noted, was an eminent and internationally recognised theoretical physicist and computer scientist prior to entering Armenian politics.

Armenia has had an interest in acquiring its own communications and Earth observation satellites, and in 2013 there was considerable Armenian interest in acquiring the former and in 2017 it was revealed that India was willing to cooperatively build an Earth observation satellite with the South Caucasian country, yet in both instances nothing seems to have transpired. It should be added that as a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Armenia is also involved in that international organisation’s efforts to develop a multinational Earth observation constellation, though this is also taking a long time to develop.

It is understood that at present most of Armenia’s satellite needs are met by Russia in terms of satellite communications, Earth observation, and positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services provided through Russia’s GLONASS and China’s Beidou.

SpaceWatch.Global reported in late January 2020 that President Sarkissian had met with senior representatives of French aerospace giant Thales Group during a working visit to Switzerland, leading to speculation that Armenian space interests were discussed.

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