Saturday, August 13, 2011
Pakistan's Communication Satellite PakSat-1R Launched
Pakistan successfully launched into space its state-of-the-art PakSat-1R communication satellite from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province, late Thursday night.
A select group of senior Pakistani officials witnessed the Long March-3B rocket successfully carrying the communication satellite from the launch pad here with rounds of applause and jubilations visible on their faces.
Prominent among those present included Director General SPD Lt. General (Retd.) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, Pakistan's Ambassador to China Masood Khan, Secretary Defence Lt. General (Retd) Syed Ather Ali and Chairman Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), Major General Ahmed Bilal, besides senior officials from the Chinese government.
PakSat-1R, a geostationary and advanced communication satellite, has been jointly built by scientists and engineers from SUPARCO under the technical guidance and financial assistance from their Chinese counterpart, China National Space Administration.
The satellite carries communication payload to facilitate the introduction of a range of new services, including broadband Internet, digital television broadcasting, remote and rural telephony, emergency communications, tele-education and tele-medicine. The satellite is expected to have a lifespan of 15 years, and will be operated from SUPARCO Satellite Ground Stations located in Lahore and Karachi.
Speaking after the successful launch of the satellite, DG SPD who is leading the delegation, congratulated the entire team of Pakistani and Chinese engineers which contributed towards making this project successful. He expressed his gratitude to the government of China for providing support to Pakistan in space technology. He expressed the confidence that cooperation between the two countries in the field of space technology will continue to grow in the future, enabling Pakistan to reap rich benefits.
Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said "the successful launch is yet another shining illustration of the time-tested friendship between Pakistan and China and has ushered in a new era of cooperation in space technology between the two countries".
"This also marks the next step in taking forward Pakistan's space Programme "2040", Salman Bashir said.
The launch of PakSat-1R has added a new chapter to the mutual cooperation between the all-weather allies in the field of space technology.
Ambassador Masood Khan regarded PakSat-1R's launch as important for the country for many reasons. "It is a symbol of Pakistan-China cooperation in the area of space technology. It is the first of the kind to be launched by China and Pakistan. Therefore it establishes a new platform, and marks a new beginning", he said.
Ambassador Khan said it is our natural aspiration that a Pakistani astronaut aboard a Chinese spacecraft flies to the space, adding that "this is possible because Pakistan and China enjoy relations of trust and confidence".
Chairman SUPARCO Ahmed Bilal termed the launch as a "historic event" as it is for the first time that a commercial, fully capable communication satellite has been launched in which scientists and engineers of SUPARCO have worked very closely with the Chinese in all stages of its design and development. They have also gained firsthand experience of designing and manufacturing of Satellite, he said.
The Paksat-1R satellite is designed and manufactured by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
The satellite has 30 transponders onboard, including 12 C band and 18 Ku band transponders. To meet the coverage requirements, Paksat-1R has advance communication antennas, covering South Asian Sub-continent, the Middle East, east Africa and part of Western European areas and cities.
The Paksat-1R Programme is China Great Wall Industry Corporation's (CGWIC) third satellite in-orbit delivery contract with its international customers.
President CGWIC, Yin Liming and Assistant President of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) Zhao Xiao Chen, Assistant President of CASC also spoke on the occasion.
They said the launch took place as Pakistan is celebrating its 65th Independence Day on August 14 and both Pakistan and China are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
He said the agreement to this effect was signed in October 2008, when President Asif Ali Zardari visited China, who also witnessed its signing ceremony along with President Hu Jintao.