December 2, 2023 - 12:20 AMT
First Armenian-made satellite launched into space

A first-ever satellite designed and manufactured by Armenian scientists was launched into space on Friday, December 1.

The Hayasat-1 satellite was carried by a SpaceX rocket that blasted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

The high-tech device shaped like a 10-centimeter cube was jointly developed by the Yerevan-based Bazoomq Space Research Laboratory and the Armenian Center for Scientific Innovation and Education. Their nascent space program was formally licensed by the Armenian Ministry of High-Technology less than three months ago.

High-Technology Minister Robert Khachatriyan pledged continued government support for the program when he spoke after the successful launch of Hayasat-1. He called it a “very remarkable and heartening” development, RFE/RL’s Armenian Service reports.

Bazoomq’s co-founder and executive director, Avetik Grigorian, spoke of the “resumption” of Armenia’s space-related activities, alluding to Armenian scientists’ past contributions to Soviet space programs. Hayasat-1 is “only the first step” in that endeavor, he said.

“We need to have our own capacity to develop satellites, launch them and give them the functions and tasks we want because otherwise we would be dependent on big powers that may and may not be willing to support us,” argued Grigorian.

SpaceX launched Armenia’s first satellite into space in May 2022. The Armenian government reportedly purchased the ArmSat-1 satellite from Satlantis, a Spanish company that specializes in the production of small satellites and cameras for them. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said at the time that it will be used for a wide range of purposes, including border control, natural disaster management and geology.

The government pledged to open a satellite operations center in the country before the end of 2022. However, the construction of the facility appears to have fallen behind schedule.

Armenia’s arch-foe Azerbaijan launched its first communication and observation satellite into space in 2013. The Azerbaijani army reportedly used satellite images for its offensive military operations carried out during the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.