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Pakistan enters the infinite world of space: Two satellites launched with China’s support


News Analysis |

Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Sunday, the first-ever launch of two Pakistani satellites from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China on a Long March-2C rocket.

https://youtu.be/MvdnXII9oO0

Developing a space presence has been a long-awaited feat, so the launch marked a proud moment for every Pakistani.

Foreign Office spokesman Dr. Muhammad Faisal congratulated Pakistani scientists in a tweet, saying they had made Pakistanis proud.

The launch of the two satellites also reflects the vastness of Pak-China collaboration, providing assurance that China is committed to facilitating development in Pakistan across the board.

The Chinese rocket took to the sky two very advanced specimens of satellite technology, The PRSS1 (Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite) and the PakTES-1A.

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PRSS1: Pakistan’s eye in space

The 1,200 kg satellite PRSS-1 will operate in a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 640 km. The Satellite is fitted with a high-resolution optical payload allowing Pakistan, for the first time, to have a view of the world.

“Unlike the complex, heavier and bigger communication satellites, observatory satellite is a simple technology and can be used for a range of purposes depending on the types of sensing equipment it comes fitted with because there are various kinds of remote sensing satellites. It can also study electromagnetic waves and radiation emitted from Earth,” Dr. Rehman said.

The implications of this step forward into remote sensing technology extends to land mapping, urban and rural planning, natural disaster management, environmental monitoring and water resource management. Essentially what this means for Pakistan is enhanced research and monitoring capabilities, knowing disaster before it happens. This also means a more comprehensive understanding of Pakistan’s glacier activity, water bodies, weather conditions, and derivative earthquake speculations, perhaps, allowing authorities to take precautions in advance of heavy rainfalls, like the one that struck Lahore, or the water crisis, or even begin an evacuation before an earthquake like the one that occurred in 2005.

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A bird’s eye view always puts things into perspective, PRSS 1 could potentially be an important asset for national security. However, the Foreign Office spokesperson confirmed that there were no military or surveillance ambitions behind the deployment of these satellites.

Pak TES-1A: Made in Pakistan   

Fitted with sensors and cameras, PakTES-1A will remain stationary at 610km altitude in space and its position relative to the sun will not change. This satellite was developed by Space and Upper Atmospheric Research Commission (Suparco) to test and enhance space technology capability in the country. This in-house effort signifies a realization that Pakistan must join the “space race”, currently being led by the west.

China has been very cooperative but officials reiterated that Pakistan ought to work towards its own launch pad and rocket technology that can endure high altitudes.

Local efforts in space technology mean that Pakistan’s dependence on commercial international space outlets would reduce if momentum in space innovation continues.

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Pak-China collaboration, especially in the field of technology and education has the potential to strengthen Pakistan’s regional presence as a sustainable and innovative state. It is about time Pakistan decided to invest in space, archrival India began its space development program 25-30 years ago.

The Honorable President and Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have congratulated the Nation on this historic event and appreciated SUPARCO’s engineers and scientists for their technical excellence and collaborative effort. The Prime Minister has vowed to continue support both financially and diplomatically for advancement in space technology. These eyes in the sky, wouldn’t only mean a more prosperous Pakistan but also higher security at the borders.