MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti) – Argentina has successfully launched its first domestically designed and developed geostationary communications satellite Thursday, USA Today reported.
"ARSAT-1 is on its way to space. What a thrill," Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner wrote on her Twitter account.
The satellite will occupy the 81 West orbital slot, 36,000 km away from earth.
ARSAT-1 is the first satellite of its type constructed and orbited by a Latin American country. It is the product of seven years of work of 500 scientists. The cost of the satellite was about $250 million, and it will be operational for the next 15 years.
The ARSAT-1 satellite is developed to provide digital television and cellphone services to Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. It will also improve telephone and Internet connections in remote regions.
Fernandez said that through ARSAT-1, Argentina joins an "elite club", able to build rockets capable of space flight, whose members include the United States, Russia, China, Japan, Israel and the European Union countries.
ARSAT-1 is the first stage of a program by Argentina’s government to orbit a fleet of satellites able to transmit and relay signals to all of Latin America. A second satellite is planned to be launched in 2015.