NICOSIA, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- An Ariane 5 rocket blasted off overnight on Tuesday put into a geosynchronous orbit an advanced telecommunications satellite of Hellas Sat, a joint Greece-Cyprus subsidiary of Arabsat, which will be managed from Cyprus, a Cypriot official said on Wednesday.
Transport and Communications Minister Vasiliki Anastasiadou, who watched the blast off from the French Guiana space center at Kuru, said the successful placing into a stationary orbit of the Hellas Sat 4 communications satellite will open a new chapter in communications for both Cyprus and Greece.
She said the satellite will expand and diversify existing satellite coverage of the company by providing more satellite capacity for the regions of Europe, Middle East and Africa.
"The operation of Hellas Sat 4 is an important step forward in strengthening our position as a successful regional satellite communications center and puts Cyprus on the global satellite map", she added.
The Ariane 5 blast off was the first launch for this year and put into geosynchronous orbits two communication satellites -- the "condosat" Hellas Sat 4/SGS-1 (Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1) and GSAT-31, built by the Indian Research Organization.
A "condosat" is a satellite platform that can support a combination of payloads.
The Hellas Sat 4, built by Lockheed Martin, a 6.5 ton high-tech communications satellite will provide television, Internet, telephone and secure communications facilities.
The Hellas Sat part of the satellite, stationed at an orbital position of 39 degrees East, will provide Ku-band beam communications services and the Saudi part will provide Ka-band beam communication services, according to an Arianespace press release.