Greece is returning to the space industry with a major step, Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas said from French Guiana, after the successful launch of Greek-Cypriot telecom satellite Hellas Sat 3/Inmarsat S EAN – Europe’s largest telecommunications satellite – early on Thursday morning (Greek time).
“I am very proud to have witnessed this program,” Pappas said from the Spaceport premises of the launching site in Kourou, French Guiana, and thanked the staff of his ministry and of foreign companies who participated in the program.
The launch, he noted, “is a major step for our country because our country is returning to the space industry. And it’s coming back in two ways – the first has to do with the launch of Hellas Sat and the second is the fact that we are going to initiate and start the Hellenic Space Agency in the next month or two.”
In his brief comments, the minister underlined the importance of space research in improving people’s lives.
“We must all work together with scientists to explain to people how important research on space is for humanity, and how it can improve the life of citizens,” Pappas noted. In this way, he said, “we will have fulfilled our obligation to make people’s lives better. Isn’t it what this is all about?”
Hellas Sat 3, along with satellite GSAT-17, will provide telecommunications and direct-to-home (DTH) television services to their respective markets. If all goes well, the satellite is expected to be set into its final geostationary orbit about five days after its launch, when its four antennas will be fully developed. It will be controlled by the Hellas Sat centre in Koropi and the Cyprus centre in Kakoratzia.