Monday, April 28, 2008

India Races Ahead in Space

"The mission was perfect," said G Madhavan Nair, chairman of the state-run Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Mr. Nair was celebrating the latest successful launch by India of a mission with 10 satellites from the Sriharikota space center off India's east coast. With its headquarters in Bangalore, the ISRO employs approximately 20,000 people, with a budget of around US$815 million. Its mandate is the development of technologies related to space and their application to India's development. In addition to domestic payloads, it offers international launch services. ISRO currently launches satellites using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and the GSLV for geostationary satellites.

This latest success by ISRO makes India a serious contender in the fast growing $2.5B commercial satellite launch business expected to grow rapidly over the next several years. The BBC is reporting that the rocket carried an Indian mini satellite to gather technological data which will be available for sale, and eight tiny research satellites belonging to research facilities in Canada, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. India started its space program in 1963, and has since designed, built and launched its own satellites into space.

Last year, India put an Italian satellite into orbit for a fee of $11m. In January, India successfully launched an Israeli spy satellite into orbit, according to the BBC. The Israeli satellite launch drew strong protest from Iran amidst growing and multi-dimensional India-Israel collaboration. Israeli arms sales to India in 2006 were $1.5 billion, roughly the same as in each of the preceding three years as well. This from Israel’s total arms sales of $4.2 billion in 2006; the India market comprised more than one-third. A report by the Brookings Institution, a pro-Israeli US Think Tank, welcomed this collaboration and said, "The Israeli-Indian connection in commercial military and space intelligence fields is good for both countries and for the United States. In less than two decades since diplomatic ties were upgraded, New Delhi and Jerusalem have come a long way. Camp David was a pivotal moment on the way. The cooperation between Israel and India, with U.S. blessing, provides important security to two democratic countries in a very unstable part of the world."

India's own satellite named Technology Experiment Satellite (TES), which can be used as a spy satellite, has been beaming down what space officials call "excellent pictures". TES, launched in October 2001 from the Sriharikota launch pad, is a precursor for the launch of fully operational spy satellites. Indian Defense Minister has been touting India's satellite-based Military Surveillance and Reconnaissance System that was scheduled to become operational by 2007 allowing it to keep watch on developments in its neighborhood, including Pakistan and China. It has, however, been delayed with no new dates announced.

Beyond the Indian commercial ambitions, this milestone for India represents a strategic capability as an emerging economic and military power on the world stage. This is also a great comeback for ISRO about two years after a launch in 2006 had to be destroyed less than a minute after lift off when it veered from its path.

The Pakistan Space Agency or Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), the equivalent of ISRO in India, is the Pakistani state-run space agency responsible for Pakistan's space program. It was formed in September 1961 by the order of President Ayub Khan on the advice of Professor Dr Abdus Salam, Nobel Laureate, who was also made its founding director. The headquarters of SUPARCO is located in Islamabad, however with the development of Sonmiani it is expected that the new headquarters will be moved in the near future. The agency also has offices in Lahore and at Karachi (an engineering installation). SUPARCO has no launch capability of its own. It has relied on Chinese and Russian space agencies to launch its satellites Badr-1 and Badr-2.

SUPARCO saw major cuts in its budget in the 1980s and 1990s. Last year, its annual budget was a modest $6m. In fact, Pakistan had no communication satellites in space until 2003. The urgency to place its first satellite in a geo-stationary orbit was keenly felt in the middle of 2003, by which time Pakistan had already lost four of its five allotted space slots. The five slots were allotted to Pakistan by ITU (International Telecommunication Union) back in 1984, but the country failed to launch any satellite till 1995. That year Pakistan again applied for and received the five slots, but once again the government failed to get a satellite into orbit, losing four of it slots in the process. According to officials, if Pakistan had failed to launch its satellite by April 19, 2003, the country would have lost its fifth and last 38-degree east slot when the availability of these space slots is getting difficult every day.

Pakistan’s former Science and Technology Minister, Dr. Atta-ur Rehman said retention of the slot was important from commercial and strategic points of view as it would assure retention of a foothold in space. Air Vice Marshall Azhar Maud, Chairman NTC, said that a geo stationary satellite could be used to secure defence communication, act as a lookout for a missile attack and detect any nuclear detonation or explosion. M Nasim Shah of the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission(SUPARCO) said that the technology is vital for making the nuclear command and control mechanisms “credible”.

Recognizing that it is significantly lagging behind Indian Space program, President Pervez Musharraf has outlined his vision for SUPARCO by laying down a clearly defined agenda for the national space agency. Revitalization, restructuring, reorientation and modernization of SUPARCO are the main objectives outlined by President Musharraf. SUPARCO is to be brought at par with other successful space agencies of the world. Specific objectives include research and development of communication satellites, remote sensing satellites and satellite launch vehicles, with the objective of bringing rapid growth and socio-economic development in the fields of education, information technology, communications, agriculture sector, mineral excavation and atmospheric sciences. As an established and well recognized nuclear and missile power the next logical frontier for Pakistan is space. President Musharraf had made it clear that Pakistan would need to catch up to the world space leaders and make up for lost time and neglect in the past.

In 2001, Pakistan was reportedly in the process of developing its own Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV). Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, considered the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, said in March 2001 that Pakistani scientists were in the process of building the country's first SLV and that the project had been assigned to SUPARCO. According to Dr. Abdul Majid, chairman of SUPARCO, Pakistan envisaged a low-cost SLV in order to launch lightweight satellites into low-earth orbits. Dr. Khan also cited the fact that India had made rapid strides in the fields of SLV and satellite manufacture as another motivation for developing an indigenous launch capability. According to an Islamabad news source, the SLV would be derived from an already available missile launching system, which may be an indication that technologies acquired for the ballistic missile program would eventually be used to develop an SLV. All the experiments necessary to ready the SLV for a complete flight test have not been completed, although Pakistani scientists have tested three of the four stages. The nuclear proliferation allegations and events leading up to the Dr. A.Q. Khan's fall from grace and subsequent house arrest have clearly been a setback for Pakistan's space efforts.

India's success in space is likely to be seen in Pakistan as a threat, or at least a major challenge that they must respond to. Pakistan has a lot of catching up to do to try and reduce the gap between the space capabilities of the two nuclear-armed rivals in South Asia.

Just as Russia's Sputnik launch on October 4, 1957, spurred the Americans to respond with a comprehensive effort in space technology, the Indian success yesterday has the potential to serve as a wake-up call for Pakistanis to renew their efforts and focus on science and technology education, innovation and research to become competitive with India in space. Only time will tell if Pakistanis are really up to this challenge.

1. News Agency Reports
2. BBC News
3. Wikipedia entries on ISRO, SUPRACO
4. CNS-Current and Future Space Security

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Space Program

Pakistan's Space Capabilities

SUPARCO Presentation at Berlin, Germany


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a news report today:

India launches key spy satellite

The rocket is launched from Sriharikota, 90km north of Chennai
India says it has successfully launched a spy satellite that will be able to track movement on its borders.

The Israeli-built Radar Imaging Satellite was launched from the space centre at Sriharikota in southern Andhra Pradesh state.

The satellite was carried on the Indian Space Research Organisation's PSLV-C12 rocket.

India has an ambitious space programme that last October saw its first unmanned mission to the Moon.

The 300kg satellite has been placed in orbit about 550km (340 miles) above the Earth.

Observers say monitoring the borders with Pakistan will be a key task given the strained relations in the wake of last November's Mumbai attacks.
I think the Indians would be better off using the Border Eagle, a drone designed/built by Karachi's Integrated Dynamics, currently being used by the US border patrol. It's a lot cheaper and more effective than the expensive Israeli-built satellite.

Check out this link here

Riaz Haq said...

Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) has evolved from Asia Pacific Multilateral Cooperation in Space Technology and Applications (AP-MCSTA), which came into being when an MoU was signed between China, Pakistan and Thailand in 1992 as a tripartite effort. The objectives of APSCO are to focus on space science / technology and its applications, education / training and cooperative research to promote peaceful uses of outer space in the region.

Among others, Turkey has recent joined the effort.

Turkey has joined Pakistan, China and six other countries in the region to make joint efforts for the development of space technology.

Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in China Oktay Ozuye signed the Convention of the Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) on behalf of his government. Thus Turkey has become the ninth State to sign the APSCO Convention.

Informed sources said on Wednesday that the organization is aimed at promoting multilateral cooperation in the field of space technology.

Other six countries that have already inked the Convention are Iran, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Mongolia and Peru. Five countries Argentina, Brazil, Philippine, Russian Federation and Ukraine joined the APSCO with observer’s status.

Sources say that this is a big breakthrough in strengthening regional cooperation for peaceful use of outer space for the benefit of all mankind.

Pakistan and China played a pioneering role in establishing the organization, first of its kind to expand and intensify cooperation in space activities in the Asia-Pacific region.

This will enable the member countries to share their experience, know-how and potential for their common benefit. They will share their available resources in the use of satellite remote sensing data in environmental protection, natural resources exploitation as well as disaster monitoring and prevention.

The sources hoped that Pakistan and other member countries that joined APSCO will soon get the Convention ratified by their respective Parliaments to make it fully functional. Meanwhile, an interim council at the Ministerial level had been constituted to undertake necessary preparatory work.

China, being a host country has offered to provide full financial support for the establishment and operation of the APSCO until 2006. As such, the member States are not under any obligation to make financial contributions during the preparatory phase. However, they will be required to pay their financial contributions from the year 2007.

Taking in view the immense potential of Space Technology and its spin-offs in the socio-economic uplift of the countries, three Asia-Pacific countries, China, Pakistan and Thailand had taken an initiative and jointly signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in February 1992 for setting up the Asia-Pacific Multilateral Cooperation in Space Technology and Applications (AP-MCSTA).

According to the sources, the benefits to be accrued to the Asia-Pacific countries by virtue of their membership to APSCO will be enormous, including creation of multilateral compatibilities among space systems by the member states that can provide enhanced capabilities in several areas of space technology applications.

Riaz Haq said...

India's cryogenic rocket launch failed on April 15, according to the BBC:

India's bid to launch an advanced communications satellite into orbit for the first time by using a cryogenic engine has failed, scientists say.

The rocket took off as planned but the phase powered by the new engine failed to perform and deviated from its path.

Cryogenic engines are rocket motors designed for fuels that have to be held at very low temperatures to be liquid. They would otherwise be gas.

Officials say that only five countries in the world have this technology.

Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) Chairman K Radhakrishnan said that an investigation would now be held to find out what exactly went wrong.

Scientists say the mission failed because control of the two engines controlling the satellite was lost, resulting in loss of altitude and velocity.

Journalists at the scene of the launch said that scientists in the mission control area at Sriharikota in eastern India initially clapped and rejoiced after what appeared to be a successful launch - but their disappointment was apparent as the rocket deviated from its course.

India began developing cryogenic technology after Russia reneged on a deal to supply cryogenic engines in 1993 - following pressure from the United States, which believed India was using the technology to power missiles.

India hopes to emerge as a global player in the multi-billion dollar satellite launch market.

Riaz Haq said...

India's claim of "indigenous" technology are false.

There is plenty of data from Wisconsin Project that shows how India has copied its missiles and nuclear reactors from western nations, particularly US and Canada.

For example, Abul Kalam directly copied Agni from the US Scout missile. Both look identical.

The first Indian reactor was a copy of Cirus and other Canadian reactors supplied to India.

India also got a lot of help from other nations, notably US, Canada, Germany and France in it quest for nuclear and missile technology.

Riaz Haq said...

On page 24 of the Non Proliferation Review Fall 1997, author Wyn Bowen writes as follows abut the Indian acquisition of Russian cryogenic engines as follows:

"The (George H.W. Bush)administration's most notable achievement was gaining the Soviet Union's adherence to MTCR in June 1990. Five months later, however,
the Russian Space Agency signed an
agreement to supply cryogenic
rocket engines and the associated
production technology to the Indian
Space Research Organisation
(ISRO). Although Moscow publicly
viewed the deal as consistent with
its pledge to adhere to the MTCR,
the administration perceived it as a
clear violation. This difference of
opinion resulted in the deterioration
of the administration’s missile nonproliferation
dialogue with Moscow.
Although Russia pledged its adherence
to the MTCR following the dissolution
of the Soviet Union,
Glavkosmos and Russia’s KB Salyut
design bureau continued with the deal
to supply the Salyut-designed cryogenic
technology to the Indian SLV
program. As a result, the U.S. administration
imposed sanctions on
the Russian and Indian entities and
subsequently linked Russia’s entry
into the satellite launch market, and
its participation in the international
space station, to the termination of
the ISRO deal.57 However, this approach
did not produce any concrete
results during the final months of the
Bush presidency, primarily because
of the strength of Russia’s military industrial
complex, which did not
want to jeopardize its freedom to
export space launch technology and
tactical missiles.58

Finally, it has emerged that
Russia continued transferring rocket
engine technology to India in 1993
after its agreements with the United
States to refrain from doing so. This
reportedly resulted in the completion
of 60 to 80 percent of the transfers
to India."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from an interesting post by an Indian blogger Vijainder Thakur at

August 22, 2008 - While Indian defense industry has had little success with indigenous design and development of weapons system (Arjun, LCA) its record with license production has been equally dismal (Hawk trainers, Su-30MKI fighters and T-90S tanks).

It is amazing how after years of 'license production' of weapon systems like Gnats, MiG variants, Jaguars, Vijayanta tanks our defense industry has failed to come up with a product of its own that our defense forces are ready to buy.

Russian newspaper Kommersant, reporting on a deal between India and Rosoboronexport for the license production of Smerch multiple launch rocket system mocks Indian capabilities saying:

"India has had little success with military equipment production, and has had problems producing Russian Su-30MKI fighter jets and T-90S tanks, English Hawk training jets and French Scorpene submarines."

Rosoboronexport, is facilitating the manufacture of the Smerch multiple rocket system both in India and China and the news report hints at the radically different approaches adopted by the two countries towards assisted production.

China first developed an unlicensed analog to Smerch called the A-100 in the 90s. However, they were unable to indigenously develop solid-fuel rocket motor matching those of the Smerch system. So their current deal with Rosoboronexport for Smerch focuses only on the transfer of solid propellant rocket motor technology through Perm Powder Mill.

The Indian deal on the other hand simply entails license production in India. My hunch is it entails no transfer of critical technology.

The Russians will come here set up the plant for us and supply the critical manufacturing machinery. Indian labor and technical management will run the plant which will simply assemble the system. Critical components and the solid propellant rocket motor fuel will still come from Perm Powder Mill. However, bureaucrats in New Delhi and the nation as a whole will be happy. The Smerch system will be proudly paraded on Rajpath every republic day as an indigenous weapon system.

A decade or so down the line, Smerch will get outdated and India will negotiate a new deal with Russia for the license production of a new multiple rocket system for the Indian Army.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report on India's sateliite launch disaster:

An Indian space rocket carrying a communications satellite has exploded on take-off.

Live TV footage showed the rocket disappearing in a plume of smoke moments after its launch in Sriharikota near the city of Chennai (Madras).

India's space organisation said it was investigating the cause of the failure.

India is seeking to increase its share of the growing commercial satellite launch market, and says it wants to send a manned mission in space in 2016.

India's Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) was carrying the GSAT- 5P communication satellite when it exploded in the first stage of the flight on Saturday.

"The performance of the (rocket) was normal up to about 50 seconds. Soon after that the vehicle developed large altitude error leading to breaking up of the vehicle," the head of the Indian Space Research Organisation, K Radhakrishnan, told reporters.

"But what caused this interruption has to be studied in detail."

India has successfully launched lighter satellites in recent years, but has faced problems sending up heavier payloads.

Riaz Haq said...

In addition to 197 employee committed suicide across all of India's nuclear facilities and related institutes in the last 15 years, and 1733 other deaths due to various illness, there have been 684 deaths at India's space agency ISRO. Here's a Rediff story on mysterious deaths at ISRO:

When Mumbai-based Right To Information activist Chetan Kothari tried to find out how many of ISRO's employees had died in the last 15 years at the agency and its associate units, he was provided with a bureaucratic jargon.

Although the agency replied that 684 persons had died in the last 15 years at ISRO and its associate units, it had withheld the cause of their deaths.

"All we know is that at ISRO people have been dying at the rate of 45.6 per year and it does not want to tell the public how have they perished," questioned Kothari.

The figure of deaths at ISRO, excluding its headquarters, in the last 15 years is 387, while at its associate units of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking And Command Centre, Space Applications Centre and Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and ISRO HQ the figure of dead employees was 297.

"In my appeal, I had emphasised that the identity of the deceased may be withheld to protect the privacy of the families. Giving statistical information on the cause of deaths should not be a problem," said Kothari.

Last year, Kothari had obtained similar information from nuclear establishments and related organizations in which all of the government bodies had provided the cause of death. The revelation then had been startling, as it showed that 197 employees had committed suicide across all the nuclear establishments and related institutes in the last 15 years, while 1733 had died of various illness.

"I was informed by the ISRO that the information related to cause of death is not mentioned in the death certificate that is produced by the family members of the deceased to the ISRO. Majority of the government agencies know the cause of their employee's death, but the ISRO claims that it has no idea how its employees died. This is either sheer callousness on the part of the ISRO or attempt to hide facts from the public," said Kothari.

To his query seeking information about satellite launches, the ISRO provided the list of 29 successful launches done at the cost of Rs 14,160 crore.

"The information provided only pertains to the successful launch of satellites. There is no mention of failed attempts," said Kothari.

His efforts to attend the hearing of the first appeal made before the joint secretary at Anatarishk Bhavan at New Delhi [ Images ] was stone-walled despite several reminders. Kothari has now submitted an appeal before the Central Information Commission.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report on space technology education in Pakistan:

The Institute of Space Technology is a federally chartered degree awarding institute established in 2002 under the aegis of PNSA. The programs offered are approved by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan as well as The Pakistan Engineering Council. Institute of Space Technology (IST) also offers Linked Graduate Programs in collaboration with foreign universities in a host of disciplines, providing a solution to earn a foreign degree economically.

Institute of Space Technology has admissions open to graduate programs.

IST, Indigenous Programs (Evening)

Islamabad Campus

* Aerospace Engineering
o Aerodynamics/CFD
o Propulsion
o Structural Design and Analysis
o Aerospace Vehicle Design
o Guidance, Navigation and Control
* Communication Engineering
o Wireless Communication
o Signal and Image Processing

IST (National Center RS&GIS – Karachi)

* Remote Sensing and Geo Information Science
* Geo-informatics
* Spatial Information Technology

Master’s and Ph.D. Linked Programs, IST and Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU), China

* Aerospace Engineering

Master’s and Ph.D. Linked Programs, IST and Beihang University (BUAA), China

* Aerospace Engineering
o Aerodynamics/CFD
o Propulsion
o Structural Design and Analysis
o Aerospace Vehicle Design Guidance
o Guidance, Navigation and Control
* Satellite Engineering
o Guidance, Navigation and Control
o Spacecraft Design and Applications
* Materials Science and Engineering
* Manufacturing Engineering
* Welding Engineering

Master’s Linked Program, IST and University of Surrey (UniS), UK

* Satellite Communications Engineering
* Electronics Engineering
* Mobile Communication Systems
* Mobile and Satellite Communication
* Space Technology and Planetary Exploration

Riaz Haq said...

Growing Space Focus in Sino-Indian Rivalry, November 12, 2010, By Global Intelligence Report Analysts:

ANALYSIS: Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, Masood Khan, signed a loan agreement with the government-owned Export-Import Bank of China on 9 October to finance the ground control apparatus for a new ‘Paksat-1R’ communications satellite, to be launched on 14 August 2011. This bilateral effort to ensure technical interchange illustrates space as a growing area of contestation in regional strategic developments.

Chinese Space Outreach: This satellite project builds upon a substantial history of China serving as a reliable supplier of sensitive military technology to Pakistan. China launched Pakistan’s first indigenous satellite, Badr-A, in 1990 from Xichang Launch Center in Sichuan. The operation of this satellite gave Pakistani scientists practical understanding of telemetry, orbital patterns, surveillance, and Chinese launch platforms.

The Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO), headquartered in Beijing, was established in 2005 to improve Chinese multilateral space collaboration. APSCO members include Bangladesh, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru, and Thailand. International technical cooperation enables Beijing to encourage interoperability with Chinese rocket technology and obtain a greater share of the international commercial launch market.

Achievements in civilian space programs can have great relevance to military projects. Civilian and military rockets utilize similar propulsion, positioning, and control technologies. Space cooperation can therefore serve dual purposes, and support Chinese strategic as well as commercial aims in placing Chinese assistance at the heart of rocket programs of potential allies.

Chinese Strategic Developments: A core aim of Chinese strategic planning is to improve its utilization of space-borne assets. Chinese Air Force Commander General Xu Qilang commented in November 2009 that “as far as the revolution in military affairs is concerned, the competition between military forces is moving towards outer space…this is a historical inevitability and cannot be turned back”.

China’s determination to hold the option of denying the use of space-based capabilities to other states was illuminated in its successful test of an anti-satellite weapon in January 2007, eliminating an old Chinese weather satellite. Building upon this experience, Beijing conducted its first ballistic missile defense (BMD) test on 11 January 2010.

China is developing a geospatial positioning Compass Navigation Satellite System (CNSS), equivalent to the American GPS and Russian GLONASS systems. This will further improve military targeting and location abilities, while offering civilians a satellite positioning service that heralds Chinese technical acumen. Beijing also seeks to launch a manned space lab by 2020.

Indian Capabilities: New Delhi shares the recognition by Beijing of the importance of a wide range of space capabilities as an indispensable element of a robust defense. India’s ‘Phase 1′ BMD system incorporates the Prithvi Air Defense missile for high-altitude elimination of adversary missiles, and an Advanced Air Defense system for low-altitude interception. Supportive radar technology for this system has been sourced from Israel.

This system has been successfully tested and is moving toward active service. An improved ‘PDV’ interceptor is in development to replace the Prithvi Air Defense missile. The ‘Phase 1′ system is designed to target missiles with a maximum range of 2,000km, such as the Pakistani Shaheen-2 and Ghauri missiles. A ‘Phase 2′ system is planned for missiles with a range greater than 2,000km, implicitly those of Chinese origin.
American Leverage: The Indian Space Research Organisation is working with NASA on lunar exploration tasks. Indian diplomats are seeking for Washington to lift remaining restrictions ......

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a perspective by Abdul Rahman Khattak on Indian military's use of 24X7 satellite imagery to watch Pakistan and its C4I capabilities:

These (Indian) satellites will be developed and launched by ISRO based on requirements projected by the armed forces. Another important factor which needs attention is the flow of high tech technology to India after the Indo-US deal 2008. Such a discriminatory policy of the international community would create strategic imbalance in South Asia. Pakistan’s security will be in frenzy if India acquired such capabilities. In addition to that India is also developing Communication-Centric Intelligence Satellite (CCI-Sat). This satellite is being developed by the Defense Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL) under the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). This satellite will help Indian intelligence agencies to considerably improve their surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities vis-à-vis Pakistan and other neighboring countries.

Director (DLRL) G. Bhoopathy revealed this project on February 2010 and said: “We are in the process of designing and developing a spacecraft fitted with an intelligent sensor that will pick up conversations and communications across the borders,". The satellite will be operational by 2014 and will also serve as a test bed for anti-satellite weapon development.
Indian military is regularly improving its surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. From 2004-2011 it has carried out 12 major war games and in these exercises it has practiced its surveillance, reconnaissance and space imaging capabilities. In 2004, Indian Army introduced Long-Range Reconnaissance and Observation System (LORROS) in this Exercise Divya Astra, which it has bought from Israel. LORROS is a high quality, remotely controlled ground based observation system designed for medium and long range surveillance. This kind of a system is good for intelligence gathering and reconnaissance purposes. In 2005 Indian military carried out Exercise Vajra Shakti. In this exercise Indian military practiced its satellite imaging facilities. First time, a Force Multiplication Command Post (FMCP) was set up to integrate real-time flow of information as a principal tool for decision making and NCW capabilities in the Indian Army.

Indian military’s satellites would have a wide range of implications for Pakistan and the entire region. These satellites will improve its military’s surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities providing the military with round-the-clock coverage of Pakistan's military installations and deployment of its army close to the border with India. After acquiring such capabilities the Indian military would be confident to launch a preemptive conventional strike against Pakistan's nuclear weapon delivery systems at their bases. Therefore Pakistan's missile forces and launching site will also be vulnerable to detection, monitoring and target by Indian military. Furthermore, India’s accesses to high-tech international market after the Indo-US deal will impact on the strategic stability in South Asia. Therefore it is imperative for Pakistan military’s decision makers to closely monitor the Indian military’s space program and come up with adequate response to counter any future challenges and threats to Pakistan’s security.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Businessweek piece by Bruce Einhorm on Chandrayan embarrassment for Indian ISRO fans:

There was some embarrassment in India after the untimely end of the country’s first mission to the Moon last month. The unmanned Chandrayaan-I spacecraft, which was supposed to last for two years, fell out of radio contact while in orbit around the Moon in late August, just ten months after its launch. That prompted some defensiveness from a fansite of the Indian Space Research Organization, which quickly played damage control by claiming the mission had accomplished much of its goals. said in a statement that it’s “not unusual” for things to go wrong in space. “NASA has faced several space mission failures and who can forget tragic end of space shuttle Columbia and the crew perished during entry, 16 minutes prior to landing.” * In other words, yes, our space mission crashed – but at least nobody died!

Now, though, ISRO fans don’t have to resort to poor-taste defensiveness. Indeed, Indians can crow that their nascent space program, through its short-lived Chandrayaan-I, has helped make one of the most important discoveries in the history of human exploration of the Moon. A NASA probe aboard the Chandrayaan-I detected water on the Moon’s surface, and the Indian press is euphoric. “One Big Step for India, One Giant Leap for Mankind,” crowed the Times of India. “If it weren’t for them (ISRO), we wouldn’t have been able to make this discovery,” the paper quoted Carle Pieters, the Brown University researcher who analyzed the data from the NASA probe, saying.

Unfortunately for ISRO, the agency won’t be able to capitalize quickly on the discovery. The next Indian space mission, the Chandrayaan-2 isn’t scheduled to launch until 2013. That means India would be behind China in a 21st-century Asian version of the U.S.-Soviet Union space race. The Chinese ended their first lunar mission earlier this year after 16 months and plan on landing a craft on the Moon in 2012. Japan’s in the race, too, having just completed its first lunar mission. In this Asian race, the Chinese seem to have the edge, but for now the engineers in India’s program can boast that their first mission turned out pretty well after all.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on World Space Week observance in Pakistan:

Acting chairman of Suparco Dr Sajid Mirza delivered the welcome address.

He said space had been a mystery as man has been gazing at the stars for thousands of years. However, with the launch of Sputnik I on Oct 4, 1957 the way for human exploration of space had opened up and now manned spaceflight had become routine.

He described the WSW as “the manifestation of the recognition and realisation of human efforts in the domain of space exploration and its impact on humanity”. Dr Mirza said the Government of Pakistan had realised the importance of space exploration early and launched Rehbar I, the nation`s first rocket, in 1962 from Sonmiani. At the time Pakistan was the third country in Asia and the 10th in the world to launch such a craft. He added that Suparco planned to launch a remote-sensing satellite in the next few years.

The inaugural ceremony was followed by the departure of a `space education bus`, which is a custom-built vehicle that will tour the interior of Sindh for the next few days visiting schools to create awareness of space through using multi-media presentations and lectures. A seminar on `50 years of human spaceflight` was also organised, in which experts from Suparco spoke on different topics related to space sciences.

In his presentation, Ayaz Ameen described the benefits of space exploration, which included development of global positioning system technology, weather forecasting and the collection of agricultural data, space weather forecasting, exploration of the universe, searching for new energy sources as well as telemedicine.

Shafiq Ahmed gave a presentation about the development of remote sensing technology at Suparco over the past few decades. Other experts also spoke. However, the running theme throughout the seminar was the shortage of trained manpower in Pakistan as the experts urged the students present to pursue space sciences as a career as this was a national requirement.

Suparco has planned other events to observe Space Week in Karachi as well as throughout Pakistan, which include declamation contests, quizzes, model-making competitions for students, with lectures for teachers as well as general space-related activities.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Business Recorder report on the inauguration of PakSat-1R ground control station in Lahore:

He (Gilani) expressed pleasure that PAKSAT 1R has reached its intended orbit and all subsystems are functioning perfectly.

The PAKSET- 1R was launched on August 12 from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre by China Great Wall Industry Corporation (Cawie).

It was moved to its designated position at 38 degrees East longitude in the geo-stationary orbit to replace the existing satellite Pakistan 1.

It has 32 trans-transponders with three communication antennas to cover the whole of Pakistan and 75 other countries across Asia , East Africa and part of western Europe.

The Prime Minister said that application of space technologies is contributing significantly to socio-economic and security concepts of the developing countries like Pakistan.

He said that with this realisation in mind he approved Pakistan's Space Vision-2040 earlier this year, adding that successful launching and commissioning of PAKSAT 1R marks the first significant step towards realising the Space Vision.

He said that communication satellites were playing a vital role across the world over in bridging the digital divide between backward and remote areas and urban centres in the fields of health, education, entertainment and communication service delivery.

Gilani said PAKSAT-1R would help to extend the communication infrastructure to the entire country thus bringing the fruits of socio-economic development to the remotest corners of Pakistan.

He said that Suparco's space applications programme was already contributing to various fields, the significant ones being agriculture, crop monitoring, yield estimation, food and water security, improvement of water courses, monitoring of environment, disaster monitoring and mitigation, land cover use and many others.

He said with the availability of communication satellite PAKSAT-1R, significant strides would be made in mentioned areas to give impetus to all walks of national reconstruction and development.

The Prime Minister said that besides playing its fundamental role for extending communication facilities, he would urge Suparco and other stakeholders to focus more on tele-education and tele-medicine for improving the quality of life in the remote areas of the country.

He said by doing this benefits of the communication satellite services would be extended to the less privileged strata of society.

The Prime minister said that after successful deployment of PAKSAT 1R, he had directed Suparco to focus on the development of Remote Sensing Satellites to ensure that these satellites are developed and launched as envisaged in the Space Vision 2040.

The Prime Minister urged all federal ministries and provincial portfolios to optimum utilise space technology as an instrument of socio-economic development pointing that it was crucial that the space assets that nation acquired were used at best for the national cause.

He said that he was sure that in view of Pakistan's strategic relationship with China co-operation in space technology and its applications would become yet another hallmark of Pakistan-China friendship.

He said academia has a key role to play to spread knowledge about space technology.

He emphasised that academic and research institutions need to incorporate aspects pertaining to space sciences, space technology and their applications in their curricula.

About close co-operation, collaboration, co-ordination and interaction between Suparco and universities he said it could significantly lead to explore all avenues of space technology.

The Prime Minister expressed pleasure that Suparco, besides other responsibilities was making endeavours to create awareness about the space technology amongst youth.....

Riaz Haq said...

Former ISRO chief Madhavan Nair barred from holding Indian govt jobs, reports The Indian Express:

In an unprecedented disciplinary action, four of the biggest names in the space community, including former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) G Madhavan Nair, have been barred from occupying any government position — current or in future — for their role in the Antrix-Devas deal, in which a private company was accused to have been wrongfully allotted S-band frequencies for radio waves.

A Bhaskarnarayana, former scientific secretary in ISRO; K R Sridharmurthi, former managing director of Antrix which is the marketing arm of ISRO; and K N Shankara, former director in ISRO’s satellite centre, are the others who have been penalised, according to an order issued by the Department of Space on January 13, 2012.

Nair, during whose tenure the contract was signed, is the recipient of the Padma Vibhushan. He is the chairman of the board of governors of IIT Patna.

The order, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, is signed by Sandhya Venugopal Sharma, director, Department of Space. While it does not specify the allegations against these scientists, the order says that the decision comes after the government “carefully considered” the report of the high-powered review committee set up on February 10, 2011 and that of another team set up on May 31, 2011.

The order, sent to all Secretaries of the Government of India and Chief Secretaries of state governments and Union Territories, says that these “former Officers of the Department of Space shall be excluded from re-employment, committee roles or any other important role under the government”.

Further, the order states that “these former officers shall be divested of any current assignment/consultancy with the government with immediate effect”. Ministries and departments concerned have been asked to communicate necessary action taken towards the same to the Department of Space.

The deal involved a contract that Antrix Corporation — whose mandate is to market technologies developed by ISRO — had signed with Bangalore-based Devas Multimedia in 2005. The multi-million dollar deal gave Devas bulk lease — 90 per cent — of transponders on two yet-to-be-launched satellites for supporting a range of satellite-based applications for mobile devices through S-band frequencies. For this, the company was given access to 70 MHz of the 150 MHz spectrum that ISRO owns in the S-band.

The Cabinet approved the building of these two satellites — GSAT-6 for Rs 269 crore and GSAT-6A for Rs 147 crore — in 2009. The cost of the launch of satellites was to be Rs 350 crore. Interestingly, the Cabinet was not informed that these two satellites were meant to be used by Devas, a fact admitted by ISRO. ...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET report on Supraco's plans for next satellite:

After the successful launch of the communication satellite PAKSAT-IR last year, the country’s space agency, Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), is all set to launch an advanced high resolution remote sensing satellite system (RSSS) technology.

Expanding Pakistan’s presence in space for commercial and strategic purposes, SUPARCO, has sent a proposal to the government for financing of the RSSS project, through which the country can attain imaging facilities, currently used by advanced countries for surveying and mapping of earth.

As part of Space Programme 2040, the proposed satellite, next in the BADAR series, will carry a number of engineering evaluation and scientific experiments including those from Research and Development organisations, academic institutions and other national agencies.

Pakistan had launched its first satellite PAKSAT-1R in collaboration with neighboring country China.

PAKSAT-1R, that was launched in August last year has a design life of 15 years. It provides TV broadcasting, internet and data communication services across South and Central Asia, Eastern Europe, East Africa and the Far East.

PAKSAT-1R project was completed by SUPARCO with the cooperation of China’s Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC).

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a China Daily story on China-Pak space cooperation:

China and Pakistan on Thursday outlined their space cooperation plan for the next eight years, which will be an important area for the two neighbors to boost bilateral cooperation as "all-weather friends".

President Hu Jintao and his visiting Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari also agreed to deepen cooperation in areas including security, the economy and trade, investment, transportation infrastructure and energy.

Zardari arrived in Beijing earlier this week for the visit and attended the 12th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit on Wednesday and Thursday. Pakistan is an observer state of the organization, which groups Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

After their talks on Thursday afternoon, Hu and Zardari witnessed the signing of a 2012-20 space cooperation outline between the China National Space Administration and the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission.

Hu said he hopes the two countries expand their pragmatic cooperation, especially in the sectors of trade, energy, transportation infrastructure construction, agriculture, telecommunications, aerospace and technology.

Analysts said China-Pakistan space cooperation is timely and mutually beneficial, and adds a new dimension to their already robust relationship.

"China is looking for a market for its growing space expertise. And Pakistan needs assistance with soft loans, training of its scientists and know-how in space sciences," Ghulam Ali, of the Institute of International Relations of National Chengchi University in Taipei, wrote in an article published on the website of East Asia Forum.

"This cooperation adds a new dimension to their already robust relationship. It brings Pakistan closer to China than ever before."

On Aug 11, China successfully launched Pakistan's communication satellite, Paksat-1R, into space from its Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province.

"China will continue to provide assistance for Pakistan's economic and social development within our capacity," Hu said.

Hu said China encourages and supports its companies to participate in Pakistan's energy and power projects.

He also suggested the two countries enhance law enforcement and security cooperation and jointly combat the "three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism.

Hailing Sino-Pakistani ties as an "all-weather friendly cooperative relationship", Zardari thanked China for its support of Pakistan's domestic stability, development and assistance to the country after natural disasters.

Zardari said he welcomes Chinese enterprises to expand investments in Pakistan, especially in infrastructure construction and the energy sector, so as to safeguard Pakistan's economic development and improve people's living standards.

"Pakistan will continue to support China on issues concerning China's core interests and be tough on terrorism", Zardari said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's APP report on Pak-China space cooperation:

BEIJING, JUNE 24 (APP): Pakistan and China are actively and practically cooperating in space technology, said Ms. Wu Ping Spokesman for China Manned Space Engineering Programme here on Sunday. She expressed these views while responding to a question in a press conference she addressed to brief the media about the successful manual docking between the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and the orbiting Tiangong-1 lab module by three Chinese astronauts. It was the first such attempt in China’s history of space exploration.

Unknown said...

hey can't pakistan launch satellite on its own.. y does it always look towards china like a for help??? the satellites made by pakistan is also not indegenous and are made by chinese..are we going to be self dependent or not??? we lag a lot in space..

Hopewins said...

Any updates on this article?

What has our SUPARI CO done in the last few years?

Have the Indians agreed to put their program on hold so as to let us catch up? Or are they selfishly just moving ahead?

Will their selfishness affect the "strategic balance of power in South Asia"?

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts of a BBC story on India's ambitious Mars Mission:

After India's successful unmanned Chandrayaan mission to the Moon in 2008 that brought back the first clinching evidence of the presence of water there, the Mars mission, according to K Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), is a "natural progression".
India sees the Mars mission as an opportunity to beat its regional rival China in reaching the planet, especially after a Russian mission carrying the first Chinese satellite to Mars failed in November 2011. Japan also failed in a similar effort in 1998.

China has beaten India in space in almost every aspect so far: it has rockets that can lift four times more weight than India's, and in 2003, successfully launched its first human space flight which India has not yet embarked on. China launched its maiden mission to Moon in 2007, ahead of India.

So if India's mission succeeds, it will have something to feel proud about.
Though India says its Mars mission is the cheapest inter-planetary mission ever to have been undertaken in half a century of space exploration, some are questioning its scientific purpose.

"This is a highly suboptimal mission with limited scientific objectives," says D Raghunandan of Delhi Science Forum, a think tank.

Others like economist-activist Jean Dreze have said the mission "seems to be part of the Indian elite's delusional quest for superpower status".

Refuting such talk, a top government official says: "We have heard these arguments since the 1960s, about India being a poor country not needing or affording a space programme.

"If we can't dare to dream big it would leave us as hewers of wood and drawers of water! India is today too big to be just living on the fringes of high technology."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's The Economist Magazine on India's Mars Mission:

ON NOVEMBER 5th or at some point in the following weeks India’s space organisation, ISRO, will launch a rocket carrying a small, unmanned spacecraft, the Mangalyaan (“Mars vehicle”). By the end of the month, the orbiter is set to stretch its solar wings and begin a nine-month trip to Mars. Officially, it will look for signs of methane on Earth’s neighbour. In fact the main concern is rivalry closer to home: to show that India’s space plans are not entirely outclassed by China’s. A successful mission would swell national pride. But as the Mangalyaan begins its journey, many might wonder how a country that cannot feed all of its people can find the money for a Mars mission. How can poor countries afford space programmes?

India is not the only emerging economy with space ambitions. Nigeria already has a handful of satellites floating around the Earth (though these were launched by others). Depending how you define a space programme, even minnows like Sri Lanka, Bolivia and Belarus have plans of some sort to get space activity under way. By one count, including co-operative efforts between countries but not fully private ones, there are currently over 70 space programmes, though only a dozen of these have any sort of launch capability. China’s programme is advanced: last year it put a woman in space, and in December it will launch its first (uncrewed) lunar mission.

From a distance, India's extra-terrestrial ambitions might seem like a waste of money. The country still has immense numbers of poor people: two-fifths of its children remain stunted from malnutrition and half the population lack proper toilets. Its Mars mission may be cheap by American (or Chinese) standards, at just $74m, but India’s overall space programme costs roughly $1 billion a year. That is more than spare change, even for a near $2-trillion economy. Meanwhile, spending on public health, at about 1.2% of GDP, is dismally low. What if the 16,000 scientists and engineers now working on space development were deployed instead to fix rotten sanitation? And why should donors bother to help tackle poverty where governments have enough spare resources to think about space? For some countries, at least, decent answers exist to such questions. Trips to the Moon and Mars may well be mostly about showing off. But most space programmes are designed to get satellites into Earth’s orbit for the sake of better communications, mapping, weather observation or military capacity at home. These bring direct benefits to ordinary people. Take one recent example: a fierce cyclone that hit India’s east coast last month killed few, whereas a similar-strength one in the same spot, in 1999, killed over 10,000. One reason for the improvement was that Indian weather satellites helped to make possible far more accurate predictions of where and when the storm would hit. Otherwise, improved data on monsoon rains, or generally shifting weather patterns, can help even the poorest farmers have a better idea of when to plant crops.

Donors may not be mollified (Britain, for example, is winding down its aid to India). But any aid programme has to be justified in the face of other waste, which can be far costlier than space programmes. A bigger problem in India, for example, is that pitifully few people pay tax, partly because so few have formal jobs. As an emerging middle-income country, India should easily have the means to pay for proper public health, as well as the odd jaunt into space. The pity of it all: it does neither as well as it could.

Riaz Haq said...

As India launches its space mission to Mars, malnutrition rates in India are higher than in sub Saharan Africa.

Unknown said...

Oh my dear frog lying so deep in well.
Why Dont you Write Little About far Developed, Modernised ,utterly Peaceful great Pakistan Become A Source Of Inspiration for Whole World.

Riaz Haq said...

#IndiaMarsMission hit by snag. Independent experts puzzled by the stated circumstances of glitch. #India #ISRO

India's Mars spacecraft suffered a brief engine failure on Monday as scientists tried to move it into a higher orbit around Earth.

During a fourth repositioning to take it 100,000 kms from Earth, the thruster engines briefly failed, leading the auto-pilot to take over but controllers denied any setback to the ambitious low-cost mission.

Lacking a large enough rocket to blast directly out of Earth's atmosphere and gravitational pull, the Indian spacecraft is orbiting Earth until the end of the month while building up enough velocity to break free.

The Mars Orbiter Mission, which blasted off on November 5 for an 11-month trip in an attempt to become the only Asian country to reach the Red Planet, is being launched on its way via an unusual "slingshot" method for interplanetary journeys.

"It's not a setback at all," Deviprasad Karnik, a spokesman for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told AFP.

The spacecraft is currently at an orbit of 78,276 kilometres and will be raised again at 5am on Tuesday (23:30 GMT), an ISRO statement said.

"Tomorrow again we'll raise the orbit to 100,000 kms," Karnik said.

ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan has called the mission a "turning point" for India's space ambitions and one which would go on to prove its capabilities in rocket technology.

The $73m cost of the project is less than a sixth of the $455m set aside for a Mars probe by NASA which will launch later this month.

India has never attempted interplanetary trave beforel and more than half of all missions to Mars have ended in failure in the past, including China's in 2011 and Japan's in 2003.

Riaz Haq said...

Satellite built by Pakistan IST students launched:

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's first Cubesat satellite, iCUBE-1, was launched on Thursday on-board Dnepr launch vehicle from Yasny launch base in Russia.

Built by the Institute of Space Technology (IST), iCUBE-1 was designed and developed at a cost of Rs3-3.5 million.

Talking to, Spokesperson IST Raza Butt said that it’s a positive move for technology in Pakistan.

“The world is moving towards miniaturisation. The launch cost is significantly low for CubeSats as compared to the bigger satellites. The low cost factor is very attractive for researchers who can test their payloads using these cubesats and then incorporate this technology in their bigger satellites,” he commented.

For the uninitiated, a CubeSat is a type of miniaturized satellite for space research that usually has a volume of exactly one liter (10 cm cube), has a mass of no more than 1.33 kilograms.

The cubesat will open up a wide vista of future experiments that can be carried on cubesats in the domain of imaging, microgravity, biology, nano technology, space dynamics, chemistry, space physics and various other fields. Cubesats can also provide a test bed for developing satellite constellations for specific applications.

“In addition, CubeSats need to pass the standard testing procedures which are same for all other satellites giving it’s manufacturers the confidence of building and launching bigger satellites,” he informed.

A team of around 20 faculty members and 15 students worked on the project which was initiated in 2009.

ICUBE-1 is expected to be operational for a period of 2 years. It is a low earth polar orbit at an altitude of 600km.

Sharing an interesting observation during the development of the project, Butt said: “It was interesting that during launch integration, the team had interaction with developers from other countries, such as Italy, Spain, USA and Peru. They were excited. A number of them are open to collaboration with IST on future cubesat missions.”

APP adds:

The Institute of Space Technology has achieved this astounding success in a short span of ten years, owing to the concerted efforts by its leadership, students and faculty to standout in this field and to create a national center of excellence in space technology.

Vice Chancellor IST, Engr. Imran Rahman congratulated 'Team IST' for this great achievement.

He specifically thanked the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, Chairman HEC and Chairman of National Space Agency for their continuous encouragement, support and help in achieving this milestone.

Talking to APP, Spokesperson IST Raza Butt said “iCUBE-1 has been launched in a polar orbit, 600 Km above the surface of the Earth, and is designed to take low resolution images of Earth and other space objects.”

Initially, iCUBE-1 will transmit a Continuous Wave Morse coded beacon with message “iCUBE-1 First CubeSat of Pakistan”.

Amateur radio operators have a great opportunity to hear those signals on the VHF band. iCUBE-1 has a mass of 1.1 Kg and is thus categorized as a pico-satellite.

The satellite has a volume of 10cm cube and it houses several sensors to collect data for scientific purposes. iCUBE-1 is a fully autonomous satellite and is capable of maintaining its health via its on-board computer.

The satellite will send its health data to ground stations and can also be commanded from Satellite Tracking and Control Station at IST.

Riaz Haq said...

NASA's Global Reach: Pakistan

Posted by Nagin Cox
I first realized how legendary NASA is worldwide when I was speaking in Turkey, and it was even more so in Pakistan. In many of the institutions I visited, I was the first American AND I was from NASA. That caused almost unbearable levels of excitement to develop in some schools. At the Institute of Space Technology in Islamabad, it was standing room only, and the students were asking their professors to cancel their lectures so they could attend my presentation. At some of the events, hundreds of students attended the presentation even though they were in exam weeks and classes were over. In one university in AJK Mirpur, the students spontaneously lined the halls and started clapping the minute I got out of the car. Their thirst for information and connections was palpable. As always, I tried not to be too gung-ho about NASA (I do not want to encourage a "brain drain"), but instead encouraged them to work to meet their own country’s needs. I would highlight the accomplishments of the Pakistani space agency, SUPARCO, and show the students that there are exciting things happening in science and engineering within their own borders and how much their skills and enthusiasm are needed in-country.

Riaz Haq said...

Superpoor #IndiaAtMars
: Delusions of Grandeur? … via @YouTube

Anonymous said...

Hello to you sirsir, space rocket blasts does not mean a faliure to the entire space research organisation, NASA too have may of such failed rocket. A butifull lime says: "If its a sucess becomes a moral, if its a faliure it becomes a path not to try on!".. Thanks hope you inderstand

Unknown said...

U have so much money, then u should use this for upliftment of ur country.

Dillip said...

Diaz is a very zealous muslim who does not like India at all. He hates Hindus and India. He may be descendant Mohamod Ghori of Ghazni. His blood gets real hot and poisonous when he hears any success of India. He must know no matter which way he bangs his head entire islamic countries cannot supersede Indian brain. Indians are CEO of Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Visa and Pepsi. Many Indians are dean of Harvard, UCLA, MIT and other American universities. Indian brain prevails all over the world. Indians are intellectuals not terrorist like Riaz and his country fellows.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Mars Orbiter Mission Has a Methane Problem via @seeker

More than two years after its pioneering Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) reached the red planet, the Indian Space Research Organization has yet to release highly anticipated measurements of atmospheric methane, a gas which on Earth is strongly tied to life.

Seeker has learned that the data will never come, due to a flaw in the sensor design.

"They did not design this properly for the detection of methane on Mars," Michael Mumma, senior scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, told Seeker.

In 2003, Mumma led a team that made the first definitive measurements of methane on Mars using an infrared telescope in Hawaii. The methane, which appeared in plumes over specific regions of Mars, reached a maximum density of about 60 parts per billion.

"The (MOM) instrument is beautifully engineered, but not for the methane task. It has other value, but unfortunately they will not be able to provide measurements of methane at the levels needed to sample even the plumes we saw," Mumma said.

The problem has to do with how the instrument collects and processes detections of methane in the atmosphere, a technique known as spectroscopy.

"Imagine that you hold your hand in front of you and extend your four fingers … Suppose that each (finger) represents a methane line. What they have is a spectrometer that can be shifted to … sample each one of the four fingers and then they have a second one that samples the region between the fingers.

"The trouble is they don't actually send back the spectra. What they send back is the two numbers — the sum of the fingers measured by the first channel and the sum of gaps measured by the second channel — and then they take a difference of those two numbers and they think that that's going to be the methane signal," Mumma said.

"The problem, of course, is that when you have other spectral lines … like carbon dioxide lines which vary widely with temperature in terms of their intensity, then those two numbers … don't represent methane alone. The net effect is that there is no way that one can back out those two signals in order to retrieve a methane signal," he said.

"It's really unfortunate because they succeeded so spectacularly well in placing the spacecraft into orbit at all, which was the major achievement for the first try," he added. "But the reality is we won't seeing any detections of methane from the Mars methane sensor on MOM."

Mumma and colleague Geronimo Villanueva, also at Goddard, analyzed the MOM methane instrument design as part of NASA's widening partnership with ISRO.

Their findings were presented to the Indian space agency ISRO in February.

"I believe the resolution is that the Indians now agree that their methane sensor is better used for other purposes, so they are now calling this an albedo mapper and measuring reflected sunlight. It does that, and it does that well," Mumma said.

"The engineers know how to build a good instrument. That's not the issue. The problem is they didn't have the scientific guidance needed to tell them exactly what they needed to do," he said.

Seetha Somasundaram, with ISRO's Satellite Center which designed the instrument, declined to comment and referred Seeker to ISRO spokesman Deviprasad Karnik. Karnik did not responded to requests for comment.

Mumma and other scientists are now pinning their hopes on getting Mars methane measurements from Europe's newly arrived Trace Gas Orbiter.

Riaz Haq said...

Jubilation and scepticism greet #India’s world #space record. #ISRO … via @FT

the fanfare masks a more modest reality — India has made a small inroad into the lucrative commercial space industry but headline-grabbing advances such as last month’s rocket launch have been far outstripped by China’s investments into a manned space station and robotic missions to the moon.

“The Chinese space programme operates on a very different scale than the Indian,” says Asif Siddiqi, professor of history at Fordham university. “It is much bigger, both in terms of annual launches and annual investments, it does a lot more in terms of actual capabilities and it also has a much more explicit military dimension.”

The new Indian record, which tripled Russia’s previous record of 37 satellites from a single rocket, was only possible because most of the spacecraft were extremely small, he added. India’s space agency received about $1.1bn of funding last year compared with an estimated $7-8bn in China, says Dinshaw Mistry, professor of political science and Asian studies at the University of Cincinnati.

In Beijing, India’s enthusiasm for its world record has been dismissed as overblown.

“China’s opponents in aerospace is not India but the United States. However, India always makes China its opponent, and every achievement is made into a victory against China and cheered,” ran an editorial in the Global Times, a state-sanctioned tabloid.

“The requirements for Indian rockets are all low cost, so they have a large emphasis on commercial launches, and they are mostly servicing foreign satellites. That is all they are doing,” says Lan Tianyi, chief executive of the Beijing-based aerospace consultancy Yuxun Technology. Most of the technology needed to pack 104 satellites onto one rocket came from foreign companies while “India only provided the rocket and the launch opportunity”, Mr Lan added.

While China has sought to emulate American space achievements and poured resources into high-profile missions like sending a rover to the moon, India has set more conservative targets.

According to Mr Lele, less than 5 per cent of India’s space budget is spent on long-term exploration or international competition. Instead, most is focussed on domestic missions such as environmental and metereological forecasting, or navigation.

India has a 0.6 per cent share of the commercial space industry — compared to China’s 3 per cent — a big growth area for companies that want to send satellites to space for research of commercial purposes, such as mapping or television transmission. The US is the biggest client for the $5.4bn industry, according to data from the Satellite Industry Association, a trade body.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan pushes for homegrown satellite development
By: Usman Ansari

Pakistan has launched an ambitious satellite program as part of ongoing efforts to wean itself off dependence on foreign-owned assets for civil and military applications.

Pakistan’s domestic space agency, the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, or SUPARCO, will receive a budget of just more than $40 million for fiscal 2018-2019.

Of this, some $22 million has been allocated for space centers related to the Pakistan Multi-Mission Satellite in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore, plus the establishment of a research center in Karachi.

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However, the final cost of all three aspects of the project is reported in local media as being in the region of $470 million.

No response from SUPARCO was forthcoming when asked by Defense News regarding details about foreign cooperation on this endeavor, although existing information on planned remote sensing satellite programs list an electro-optical sensor-equipped satellite, and a synthetic aperture radar-equipped example.

An existing communications satellite partially co-developed in Pakistan, PAKSAT-1R, was launched by China Great Wall Industry Corporation in 2011.

“It is essential for all countries that they free themselves from dependence on U.S.-location satellite programs,” said Brian Cloughley, author, analyst and former Australian defense attache to Islamabad.

“I have no doubt this has been [in] the cards for some time and that the Chinese are helping.”

Defense News previously reported that Pakistan’s military had access to China’s BeiDou satellite navigation system for military applications, which had special implications for the effectiveness of its sea-based deterrent.

Pakistan also has a long-standing satellite development agreement with Turkey, which has its own recently unveiled observation satellite program.

However, at present it is unknown if anything has resulted from this, or if it will be pushed further down the road.

Cloughley believes it would take a long time to come to fruition, making cooperation with China more likely still.

Also, on cost grounds alone for the new program, Cloughley believes it likely that reliance on China will grow.

“The big question about this development is about where the money is to come from. Pakistan’s economic situation is dire, and commitment to such a program will not meet with [International Monetary Fund] approval. The China connection will probably deepen even further,” he said.

Whether China’s satellite technology will meet Pakistan’s requirements is unknown.

Brian Weeden, director of program planning at Secure World Foundation and an expert in space technologies and satellites, is unaware of the details of any satellites China may be building for Pakistan. However, he “would rate China’s technology in these areas as fairly good.”

“They’re not yet as capable as the most advanced American or European commercial technology, let alone the U.S. or European military satellites, but the Chinese technology is rapidly improving,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Narendra #Modi says #India will send a manned flight into #space by 2022.

India will send a manned flight into space by 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Wednesday as part of India’s independence day celebrations.

He said India will become the fourth country after Russia, the United States and China to achieve the feat and its astronaut could be a man or a woman. The space capsule that will transport India’s astronauts was tested a few days earlier.

Rakesh Sharma was the first Indian to travel in space, aboard a Soviet rocket in 1984. As part of its own space program, active since the 1960s, India has launched scores of satellites for itself and other countries and successfully put one in orbit around Mars in 2014.

It hopes to showcase its technological ability to explore the solar system while also using research from space and elsewhere to solve problems at home. The $1 billion-a-year space program has already helped develop satellite, communication and remote-sensing technologies and has been used to gauge underground water levels and predict weather in the country prone to cycles of drought and flood.

India won independence from British colonialists in 1947. Modi’s 80-minute speech, broadcast live from the historic Red Fort in New Delhi, comes months before national elections.

Modi listed his government’s achievements in the past four years in reforming the country’s economy, reducing poverty and corruption. He announced a health insurance scheme for 500 million poor people providing a cover of 500,000 rupees ($7,150) per family a year.

He said India will become a growth engine for the world economy as the “sleeping elephant” has started to run on the back of structural economic reforms.

He said its economy was seen as fragile before 2014 but was now attracting investment. India is the sixth-largest economy in the world and Modi said international institutions see India as giving strength to the world economy for the next three decades.

He said the structural reforms like a national tax replacing various state and local taxes, bankruptcy and insolvency laws, and a crackdown on corruption have helped transform the economy.

Modi became prime minister when his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won a resounding victory in the national elections in 2014. He will seek another 5-year term for his party at elections due by March-April next year.

Riaz Haq said...

Bitter rivals blast off as #Pakistan enters #space race with #India. Both plan #astronauts in space in 2022. via @bpolitics

The rivalry between India and Pakistan seems to be extending into outer space.

“The first Pakistani will be sent to space in 2022,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Thursday, the same year that India is planning its first manned mission. Pakistan’s space agency, the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, has “an agreement for this venture” with China’s Manned Space Agency, Chaudhry said.

While Pakistan’s financial capabilities for such a mission are seen as limited, the announcement still reflects the latest swipe between the two countries who have fought three wars since the partition of British India in 1947 and still trade fire across a de facto border in the disputed region of Kashmir.

The countries’ bitter rivalry is costing them $35 billion in annual trade, according to a World Bank report.

India has already conducted missions to Mars and the moon, and plans to spend $1.4 billion to send a crew of three to space by 2022, which would put it on track to become the fourth nation to send humans to space.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan steps forward in astronomy and space sciences

Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco), which is often criticised by Pakistani scientific community for not being on par with its Indian or Chinese counterparts, sent two satellites in space from a launching facility in China this July.

A surprise as it may be, one of the satellites launched the PakTES-1A, which was indigenously designed and developed by Pakistani engineers. Primarily aimed at remote sensing, the satellite is providing promising results, meeting or even exceeding expectations, a senior official of Suparco says.

Talking about the development phase of the satellite, the official says that it was a tough task to complete it on time because the launch date had already been fixed and a delay of not even a day could be afforded.

“The other satellite, PRSS-1, developed by China and Pakistan in collaboration, was due to launch on July 9, and PakTES-1A had to be co-launched, thus the Pakistani engineers worked day and night to have it ready by then,” he says.


There are currently astronomy societies in Pakistan’s cities of Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta. These societies were started and are being operated by amateur astronomers — enthusiasts who have little to no professional education in astronomy but are guided by their love for the universe.

Biggest telescope
Founded in 2008, the Karachi Astronomers Society is a society that is known for owning one of the biggest private telescopes in Pakistan. Chaired by a retired combat pilot of Pakistan Air Force Khalid Marwat, the society organises star parties for the public at different public places of the city, and sometimes the group also ventures out to dark skies for having a better view of the skies as compared to the massively light-polluted skies of the city of the lights.

The society has an 18-inch diameter telescope which is a prized possession of the society’s chairman Mr Marwat. Apart from that, Mehdi Hussain, former president of the society and an IT expert by profession, has built an astronomical observatory at his home’s rooftop. Named Kaastrodome (Karachi Astronomical Dome) the observatory is fitted with a 12-inch diameter telescope. The dome was built locally in Karachi and was supervised and funded privately by Mr Hussain and his brother Akbar Hussain, who also shares the same interest.

Karachi also is home to Pakistan’s biggest telescope, a 24-inch diameter telescope that is owned by astronomy enthusiast Naveed Merchant. This telescope is bigger than any other private or public telescope in Pakistan.

Recently, the society gained much attention after a photograph of the Moon by one of its members, Talha Zia, made it to NASA’s website Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD).

Mr Zia’s photograph was the first from Pakistan to make it to the prestigious listing of carefully selected astrophotos from around the world. 150 kilometres to the north of Karachi, the city of Hyderabad has its own astronomy society, the Hyderabad Astronomical Society.

The now-dormant society was founded by a group of students of Isra University including Amjad Nizamani and Zeeshan Ahmed on the eve of World Space Week 2011. This was the first-ever session on astronomy in the city and gained much media attention. The society also collaborated with Suparco to organise observing sessions at the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) in Jamshoro, a city next to Hyderabad for the World Space Week 2012.

Riaz Haq said...

While the government claims that the ASAT test has provided ‘credible deterrence’ against threats to space-based assets from long-range missiles, a former ISRO Satellite Communication Engineer said that this won't be effective at all. "Most of the countries' satellites are in the higher orbit, and even with this India won't be able to knock out those satellites," he said. N Kalyan Raman, who has worked with ISRO for over two decades feels that it cannot be an "effective spy satellite".

According to Raman, this kind of 'deterrence' doesn't quite add up because as he puts it, "Not only will you be spending a lot, the enemy can always hit you." He also pointed out that there are various effective ways to spy on your enemy, and the anti-satellite weapon doesn't quite help in it. "In a war like situation, if a country wants to spy on its enemies there are various ways to do it-- for example, Google Earth. All you need is good resolution photos. Why do we even need this?" he asked.

Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, told the Wired that while China can knock out all of India’s satellites India cannot do the same to China. "So it’s kind of a weird balance for India if it’s interested in getting into the anti-satellite deterrence game," he said.

India had acknowledged back in 2012 that it had the “building blocks” for ASAT technology, and it has since tested ballistic missiles that have that capability. However, this most recent test is the first time that India actually intercepted a satellite with one of its missiles.

Raman said that the anti-satellite test was more a demonstration of India’s ballistic missile defence system, rather than its ability to challenge its adversaries in space. "Most medium and long-range ballistic missiles reach apogees well above 300 kilometres, and it's not that simple to destroy them," he added.

Meanwhile, acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has warned any nations contemplating ASAT weapons tests, like the one India carried, risk making a "mess" in space because of debris fields they can leave behind.

This anti-satellite weapon demonstration has a long history. It first came into existence in the Cold War/Space Race era, 1985 was the last time that the United States had used an anti-satellite system to destroy its P-781 satellite that had instruments aboard to study solar radiation. "Then was a paranoid situation. We don't live in those times anymore," Raman said. He said that if this was an effective tool in winning wars other countries would be interested in developing them too. But, they aren't.

He also said that space is occupied by multiple satellites of many countries. "The ASAT weapon won't give any strategic advantage, no country is dependent on one satellite," he said. "This is is just about optics. It's a part of the aggressive posture, this is just telling the country that we have muscle," he added.

Having worked with ISRO for over two decades, Raman also lamented on how the space research organisation has changed its art of work. "ISRO has done such great work-- they have always been associated with peacebuilding efforts. Now to be associated with this anti-satellite is simply distasteful." Although the Prime Minister emphasised that the test did not alter its commitment against the weaponisation of outer space, Raman said, "To mix warlike activity with ISRO is repulsive".

Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai, an Indian scientist and innovator widely regarded as the father of India's space programme, had once said, "There is a real danger that developing nations may adopt a space programme largely for the glamour, devoting resources not through a recognition of the values of which we are talking about here, but from a desire to create a sham image nationally and internationally." Raman agrees.

Riaz Haq said...

#NASA Chief: "#India anti-satellite missile test a terrible thing.... 400 pieces of orbital debris placing the International Space Station (ISS) and its astronauts at risk". #ASATMissile #satellites #space #Modi @CNN

India's anti-satellite missile test created at least 400 pieces of orbital debris, the head of NASA says -- placing the International Space Station (ISS) and its astronauts at risk.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said Monday that just 60 pieces of debris were large enough to track. Of those, 24 went above the apogee of the ISS, the point of the space station's orbit farthest from the Earth.
"That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris at an apogee that goes above the International Space Station," Bridenstine said in a live-streamed NASA town hall meeting. "That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight."
He added: "It is not acceptable for us to allow people to create orbital debris fields that put at risk our people."
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on March 27 that the country had achieved a "historic feat" by shooting down its own low-orbit satellite with a ground-to-space missile.
Only three other countries -- the US, Russia and China -- have anti-satellite missile capabilities.

India election
India's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the test was conducted in "the lower atmosphere to ensure that there is no space debris," and "whatever debris that is generated will decay and fall back onto the Earth within weeks."
But Bridenstine said the Indian test had increased the risk of small debris hitting the ISS by 44% over the 10 days immediately afterward.
"It's unacceptable, and NASA needs to be very clear about what its impact to us is," he added.
India election 2019: latest updates
India election 2019: latest updates
"We are charged with enabling more activities in space than we've ever seen before for the purpose of benefiting the human condition, whether it's pharmaceuticals or printing human organs in 3-D to save lives here on Earth, or manufacturing capabilities in space that you're not able to do in a gravity well.
"All of those are placed at risk when these kind of events happen — and when one country does it, then other countries feel like they have to do it as well."
NASA is tracking 23,000 pieces of orbital debris 10 centimeters (almost 4 inches) or bigger.
A third of all debris cataloged by NASA was created in 2007, when China conducted an anti-satellite test, and in 2009 when American and Russian communications satellites collided.
However Bridenstine said India's test was conducted low enough that "over time, this (debris) will all dissipate," with the ISS and all astronauts on board safe.

Riaz Haq said...

Anti-Satellite test can steel #India’s ballistic #missile defenses against #Pakistan: Chinese blog. #ASAT #Modi #China

Consequently, if India succeeds in developing anti-missile weapons, “Pakistan’s nuclear strike capability will undoubtedly be effectively weakened”.
India’s test of an anti-satellite weapon last month has made some experts in China conclude that the trial will feed into New Delhi’s bid to firm up its ballistic missile defences.

A blog posted on website guancha. cn, points out that by destroying a satellite at a height of 274 km during the March 27 test, India has taken a major step to develop its missing capacity to intercept incoming ballistic missiles at high altitudes.

The article, penned by Shi Yang, described as a foreign relations and military observer, says that so far India has shown the capacity to intercept short-range ballistic missiles at heights ranging from 30 km to 150 km. Its capability to target mid-range missiles has been limited.

But by striking a satellite at 274 km during the test, India is now on its way to developing a parallel capacity to destroy mid-range ballistic missiles at greater heights.

The article says that there is an overlap in the ASAT and anti-ballistic missile technology - destroying medium-range missiles is much harder. It is easier to strike a satellite, as its movement along its orbit is predictable and can be monitored over time. But the tasks involved in downing incoming ballistic missiles are far more complex.

“From detecting, locating, calculating the elements to intercepting the missile launch and meeting with the target, all processes must be performed before the missile hits,” says the blog.

Specifically, “the development of long-range radar equipment, and command and control systems required by an anti-missile system are obviously a huge challenge for India”.

Pakistan has been a major factor driving the advancement of India’s ballistic missile defences. “Because India and Pakistan have huge differences in overall national strength, India has an advantage in most areas, but in the field of nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles, it is not much different from Pakistan,” the article observes.

Consequently, if India succeeds in developing anti-missile weapons, “Pakistan’s nuclear strike capability will undoubtedly be effectively weakened”.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan’s #SUPARCO Said To Be In Talks With #UAE On #Space Cooperation. Pakistan plans on sending its first #astronaut into space by 2022 with the assistance of China. #science #technology

Pakistan’s space agency, the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), is believed to be in talks with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on developing an agenda for possible space cooperation, according to a senior SUPARCO official quoted in the UAE newspaper Khaleej Times.

SUPARCO were in the UAE last week where they were a prominent exhibitor at the Global Space Congress in Abu Dhabi for the first time. At their stand SUPARCO shared information with conference participants on their satellite projects.

Pakistan’s focus on space has increased over the past few years. It currently has two Earth observation satellites in orbit – the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite-1 (PRSS-1) and PakTES-1A both launched from China in 2018 – and the PakSat-MM1 and PakSat-1R communications satellites – with further Earth observation and communication satellite launches expected in the coming years.

Pakistan also plans on sending its first astronaut into space by 2022 with the assistance of China.

“We are in initial talks with the UAE for potential collaboration,” the secretary of SUPARCO, Dr Arif Ali, told the Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the Global Space Congress in Abu Dhabi.

“We have initial talks with them (the UAE) and our participation in this year’s congress is to have cooperation with UAE’s space sector, particularly in our strong areas such as satellite manufacturing and related-applications. If you have more satellites in space, then you have more opportunities of having international collaboration. At the same time, you gain something for your country and offer something beneficial for humanity. We believe in the peaceful use of outer space.”

Until now Pakistan has exclusively cooperated with China for developing its growing space programme. If reports that Pakistan is in discussions with the UAE about space cooperation are true, then this follows recent geopolitical developments involving the UAE helping Pakistan address its indebtedness to Beijing, incurred in part through the costs of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a signature project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have recently come to the aid of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan in his attempt to revive the Pakistani economy and reduce the country’s exclusive reliance on China, by providing loans worth billions of dollars as well as substantial investments.

Riaz Haq said...

#India Loses Contact with #Vikram Lander During Historic #Moon Landing Attempt. Today's possible failure may mark the second time #ISRO has crash-landed a spacecraft on the moon. #Chandrayaan2

India lost contact with its Vikram lunar lander Friday (Sept. 6) during a daring attempt to make history as the first country to land near the south pole. The landing anomaly may have dashed Indian dreams of becoming just the fourth country to successfully soft-land a spacecraft on the moon.

Long, tense minutes stretched out inside the mission control center for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which designed the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had arrived onsite at the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru, India, about half an hour before touchdown of the landed component, dubbed Vikram, was scheduled to take place.

That announcement came at 4:48 p.m. EDT (2048 GMT) from K. Sivan, the director of ISRO. "Vikram lander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 kilometers [1.3 miles]," Sivan said in an announcement at mission control. "Subsequently the communications from the lander to the ground station was lost. The data is being analyzed."

Chandrayaan-2 consisted of three components — an orbiter, a lander named Vikram and a rover named Pragyan — which together launched to the moon on July 22 atop a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III) rocket. It took nearly 7 weeks to arrive at its destination; Chandrayaan-2 arrived in lunar orbit on Aug. 20, and the lander separated from the orbiter on Sept. 2 to begin its descent to the lunar surface.

The lander and the rover were designed to spend one lunar day — about 14 Earth days — investigating the lunar surface with a variety of scientific instruments. Both were expected to shutdown come nightfall at the moon's south pole, because they weren't built to withstand to frigid temperatures of the lunar night.

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