Visiting the Thales Alenia plant in Cannes to inspect the progress of the new Greek satellite Hellas Sat 3 – currently under construction – Digital Policy and Media Minister Nikos Pappas on Friday said that Greece was now entering a new era with regard to policy for using space and space applications.
“With the formation of the National Space Agency we are in a position to have a strategic plan for space, to once again attract bright Greek minds now working, doing research and producing abroad, and to give our country what it deserves and is entitled to,” Pappas said.
He highlighted the variety of potential applications opened up by the new satellite, through to its ability to combine the signal from surveillance cameras, such as aspects of defence, advanced weather forecasting, flood prevention, surveillance of borders and monitoring wildfires.
The Greek satellite will also offer an important new service to travellers, since it will be the only satellite providing internet access to airplanes in Europe, while the minister also showed keen interest in the potential applications to support agriculture.
Pappas visited to inspect the progress in assembling the new Greek satellite, which is in the final stages of production, and was able to see the parts before it was boxed up to be sent to French Guiana for its launch into space on June 28. The minister expressed satisfaction that the work was progressing according to schedule.
The satellite has been built jointly with the London-based satellite phone company Immarsat but it will be controlled at Hellas Sat’s centre in Koropi, Attica. As Hellas Sat CEO Christodoulos Protopapas explained to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), the satellite will complement Immarsat’s network on the ground.
“With the new satellite, Greece’s orbital position is strengthened because there will be more antennas around the world that are pointed toward the 39 degrees position and, therefore, more services can be offered from this orbital position. As a result of the attention the government is giving to this sector, Greece is repositioning itself on the global space applications map, while also cultivating international recognition,” he said.
According to sources, the Hellas Sat centre in Koropi is also expected to soon expand its activities and undertake the control of other satellites, in addition to the Hellas Sat 3. The first such contract, the sources said, is due to be signed in Barcelona in the near future.