Entering into the space sector can make Greece stronger and more productive, increasing the country's standing in many ways, Digital Policy and Media Minister Nikos Pappas said on Monday, during a presentation of the newly founded Hellenic Space Organisation at the ministry.

The event was attended by members of the scientific community, the armed forces, students and teachers and Greece's parliament.

The minister thanked the Secretary General for Telecommunications and Post Vassilis Maglaras and his staff for their "tireless efforts to complete this important project, about which we have every right to feel optimistic".

He noted that Greece has many experienced scientists and that, despite the difficulties it has gone through, can not only recover but attain achievements that give cause for pride.

"We are bringing cutting-edge technologies back into the public sphere and we have a duty to inform and educate our people about the multiple benefits of space, for telecommunications infrastructure, medical applications, distance learning, precision agriculture and defence," Pappas said.

For defence, in particular, he noted that information and secure communications were the best deterrent weapons and Greece now had a space agency able to exploit these opportunities to the utmost. He also highlighted the agency's potential role for boosting investments, noting that the space sector generated a sevenfold return on investment worldwide.

The publication of the Greek space agency's charter in the government gazette on Monday officially launched its operation, with a staff of Greek scientists and prestigious personalities, Pappas said. He also announced the launch of Hellas Sat 4 within 2018 and other milestones, such as the signature of a cooperation memorandum with the European Space Agency and the German company OEGB, which will invest alongside the Greek government in making micro-satellites.