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Norway; Spain: MOU Signed on Shared Satellite

(Sept. 10, 2010) Norway and Spain are planning to jointly acquire and run a communications satellite; the two nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the project on September 7, 2010. The purpose is to improve communications with Norwegian forces serving abroad or at sea. The project will cost Norway NOK1.2 billion (about US$193.4 million) to set up. (Norway and Spain to Share New Satellite, NORWAY POST (Sept. 9, 2010),

Speaking about the satellite, Grete Faremo, Norway's Defense Minister, stated that the country had been looking into satellite communications possibilities since 2006 and that the “selection process has been both rigorous and time consuming, but also rewarding. After almost five years of hard work, I am confident that this joint venture with Spain and Hisdesat will give us the best access to military satellite communications.” (Id.) According to its website, Hisdesat was incorporated on July 17, 2001, to provide space-based services to government clients, including the Spanish government and the governments of other, friendly countries. (Hisdesat website [in Spanish], as translated by Google, (last visited Sept. 9, 2010).)

Faremo went on to cite Spain's experience with military satellites, calling it a “valuable asset to Norway in this joint venture.” (NORWAY POST, supra.) Spain's Defense Minister, Carme Chacon, described the deal as involving an investment of €300 million (about US$380 million) and creating more than 1,000 jobs. The satellite is scheduled to be launched in 2014. Spain will own 60% of the project, while Norway has a 40% share. (Spain, Norway to Build Telecoms Satellite, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY NEWS (Sept. 7, 2010),