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SpaceX refused to place a gateway station in Kazakhstan

The company has still not fulfilled the conditions of the Kazakh side to install an interface station on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

 This became known from the commentary of Roman Ermashov, director of the Kokterek Space Communications Center of the Republican Center for Space Communications JSC (hereinafter referred to as RSCC JSC), which he gave at the PROFIT Telecom Day 2024 conference . The conference was held in Almaty on May 22.

RCKS JSC is the owner of a group of satellites of the KazSat series. The structure is also the supervisor of projects using foreign satellite systems in non-geostationary satellite orbits - non-GSO, such as One Web, StarLink, SES O3b. Today, of these three non-GSO operators, only One Web places a landing station on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, since these are legal requirements. And this is carried out at the site of the Kokterek Space Communications Center.

“Our legislation requires the gateway station to be installed on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan. This is about safety. Because if any information security incident occurs, such as a data leak, everyone turns to the state. Negotiations with SpaceX took place in such a way that at the moment they refused to install a gateway station on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan. We offered them the Kokterek option; we also have a second space communications center in Akkola - as sites with infrastructure, with energy, they can be used. SpaceX is still considering this issue,” said Roman Ermashov.

He also added that there was an urgent need to connect two thousand schools to satellite Internet. According to amendments to the legislation, this pilot project is valid until January 1, 2026 - without a gateway, via VPN and with limited content, exclusively for schools. The state purchased 2,000 units of equipment for this; it is not intended for the free market.

Let us remind you that the negotiations between ICRIAP and SpaceX on the deployment of Starlink satellite Internet became known back in 2021. In the fall of 2023, it was decided to connect rural schools that are in dire need of high-quality Internet to satellite Internet. The first batch of Starlink equipment arrived in Almaty at the end of February. In April of this year, Bagdat Musin, who was then the head of MCRIAP, held a meeting with SpaceX to discuss issues of expanding Starlink and even the joint development of “digital projects.” However, at the end of April, Bagdat Musin was relieved of his post as Minister of Digital Development, and MCRIAP did not disclose any more details about projects with SpaceX.

As for One Web, according to Roman Ermashov, the company is already finishing the construction of the interface station. It will be put into commercial operation in the near future, in compliance with all rules and regulations of the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan. And the SES O3b project has been suspended for now, as the company has focused its work on other regions.

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