YEREVAN — The first ever Armenian satellite has been launched into space, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday.

“On May 25, 2022, at 22:35 Yerevan time, Armenia’s first space satellite was launched into the Earth’s orbit on a SpaceX rocket from Cape Canaveral in the United States,” Pashinyan said.

The low-earth orbit satellite was launched by SpaceX, a U.S. space manufacturer, in cooperation with the Armenian state-owned company Geocosmos and Satlantis, a private firm headquartered in Spain.

Armenia’s High-Tech Minister Robert Khachatryan and Ambassador to the US Lilit Makunts were present at the launching ceremony.

“We can’t overestimate the significance of this,” Pashinyan told lawmakers.

“With this, Armenia is embarking into the era of space activities, and we hope that our rich traditions in this area will be restored. I am speaking about the space scientific-production area which existed in Armenia for many years. In this context I’d like to stress that one of our priorities is the localization of space technologies in Armenia, as well as organizing the production of space equipment,” Pashinyan said.

Pashinyan was referring to Armenia’s participation in the Soviet space program, which saw Armenian scientists, facilities, and technologies all play key roles. Armenia’s famous Byurakan Observatory continues to work with Russian space institutions to this day.

Pashinyan said that Armenia plans to establish a “satellite control center and downlink facility” by the end of next year in order to communicate with the satellite, adding that the images it beams down to Earth will have a wide variety of uses, from border control to environmental monitoring to urban planning.

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