Pakistan Makes Significant Advances in Space Technology

The recently launched Pakistani satellite, PakSat MM-1, is set to provide communication services such as broadband internet, TV broadcasting, media and telecommunications from a geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above Earth, with operations expected to commence in August. The satellite represents Pakistan’s second communication satellite and was launched into orbit from China’s Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

The PakSat MM-1 is the result of a collaboration between Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and China under the National Space Programme-2047. The project intends to revive Pakistan’s early achievements in space exploration, dating back to the 1960s when the country launched its first rocket, “Rehbar-I”, into space, making it a pioneer in the Islamic world, South Asia, and globally.

Dr Khurram Khurshid, Head of the Electrical Engineering Department at the Institute of Space Technology (IST), expressed optimism about Pakistan’s future space endeavors, highlighting the importance of advancing space technology education and encouraging more skilled workers in the field.

The PakSat MM1 project was developed with the aim of meeting the country’s increasing demands for broad spectrum communication and connectivity, and is perceived as a significant technological cooperation between China and Pakistan. The satellite is equipped with advanced communication technologies and is expected to digitally transform Pakistan by establishing a robust communication network to cater for the high-speed internet and seamless connectivity needs.

The satellite is capable of delivering communication services in C, Ku, Ka Bands and SBAS services in L Band and various communication services such as broadband internet, TV broadcasting, mobile bank hauling and VSAT connectivity, according to SUPARCO. Dr Usman Iftikhar, the MM-1 Project Manager, stated that the primary goal of the satellite is to enhance Pakistan’s communication infrastructure and expand connectivity, with special emphasis on tele-education, e-health/tele-medicine, e-governance and e-commerce.

The PakSat MM1 satellite, developed by Pakistani scientists and engineers, represents a significant leap in the nation’s aspirations to increase connectivity across all regions. SUPARCO Director Atiqur Rehman emphasized that the deployment of the satellite will help address digital divide issues, improve TV broadcasting, cellular phone and broadband service across Pakistan.

In a historical context, Pakistan launched its first lunar mission, iCube-Qamar (ICUBE-Q) on May 3, onboard China’s Chang’E6 from Hainan. The satellite mission marked Pakistan’s first lunar exploration effort, and was a significant milestone for the country’s space endeavors. The iCube-Q was designed and developed by IST Electrical Engineering Department in collaboration with China’s Shanghai University and SUPARCO. It successfully captured and transmitted its inaugural images from lunar orbit, providing a unique perspective of the moon’s surface.

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