(Associated Press WorldStream via NewsEdge) Kazakhstan has sent its first satellite, KazSat 1, into space, its first step toward fulfilling its ambitions to join the elite club of space-exploring nations.
The Central Asian nation of 15 million is home to the world's largest space center, the Baikonur cosmodrome. It has been leasing the Soviet-built facility to Russia , but now Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev wants his nation to build its own space industry.
The Kazakh government's ambition is fueled by its post-Soviet economic success, pumped up by oil-dollars.
KazSat 1 is a geostationary satellite designed to provide TV broadcast and communications for Kazakhstan , Uzbekistan , Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan .
c 2006 The Associated Press.