Published November 17, 2014
The energy-rich Turkmenistan is aiming to join the ranks of space nations.
The official newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan reported Tuesday that President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov has signed a decree authorizing the creation of the National Space Agency.
Earlier this month, U.S. space transportation company SpaceX vice president Christophe Bauer announced that his company would launch a satellite for the Central Asian nation in 2014.
The country's last brush with space came in 2005, when the Turkmens secured a slot on a Russian rocket to send a capsule containing then-President Saparmurat Niyazov's self-penned holy text into orbit. The eccentric leader died in 2006 after two decades of iron-fisted rule.