Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Iran Joins Elite Space Club


Iran has become the 9th member of the the elite group of nations capable of launching satellites into space. The other eight members of this exclusive club are Russia, United States, France, Japan, China, United Kingdom, India and Israel.

The satellite, named Omid (Hope), carried on a two-stage Safir-2 rocket, was meant for telecommunication and research purposes, Iranian state TV said. Iran's entry in space marks the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

According to Iran's state television, "The Omid national satellite is a light satellite. This satellite has been put into the orbit to set up a two-way communication with the land station, to determine the orbit specifications, telemetry, and the specifications of subsystems".

John Pike, an expert at the US-based think-tank GlobalSecurity.org, confirmed to the BBC that the launch had been a success and the satellite was now established in a low Earth orbit. At that altitude it is likely to remain in orbit for some two months before falling back towards Earth and burning up as it re-enters the atmosphere, he told the BBC.

To deflect the expected Western criticism, Iranian foreign minister said, "Iran's satellite technology is for purely peaceful purposes and to meet the needs of the country". Mr Mottaki was talking with press in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he is attending an African summit.

The western criticism, however, came swiftly. US state department official Robert Wood said Iran's activities could "possibly lead to the development of ballistic missiles" and were of "great concern". French foreign ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said France was "very concerned" about the launch.

According to Professor Gerald Steinberg, the Political Studies Department Chair at Bar Ilan University in Israel, the technical complexity and high cost of developing these technologies have limited the number of non-OECD states that have succeeded in developing an indigenous space launcher capability to India and Israel. Other states, such as Brazil and perhaps Pakistan, have initiated programs designed to reach this objective, but the high costs and limits placed by the Missile Technology Control Regime, as well as unilateral export controls imposed by the US have slowed or blocked these efforts.

Professor Steinberg has discussed Pakistan's space efforts at some length in his report. He says that Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), along with the Space Research Council (SRC) are responsible for Pakistan's space activities and development plans. In the past five years, SUPARCO has overseen the production and testing of sounding rockets, with an average of 3 or 4 launches per year and carrying high altitude and ionosphere research payloads. The 2-stage Shahpar launcher has a payload of 55 kilograms and reaches an altitude of 450 kilometers. In 1986, Pakistan contracted for the purchase of missile technology and a launch facility with an American firm (ISC Technologies), at a reported cost of $200-$300m. According to press reports, after 10% of the obligations were paid, Pakistan began to doubt if ISC could provide the assistance that had been anticipated, and apparently no useful technologies were transferred.

SUPARCO is also active in sponsoring satellite development. The BADR-1 experimental digital communications satellite was launched by a Chinese Long March 2E in July 1990. It weighed 52 kilogram and had an orbital lifetime of 6 months. As in the case of Korea, the design for this micro-satellite was apparently based on the University of Surrey platform.

As in the case of India and other states, Pakistan is also seeking to develop and operate remote sensing spacecraft. Officially, Pakistan claims to seek this capability in order to obtain data for precise mapping, flood control, pollution, and the location and development of mineral deposits and other natural resources. Despite a small budget ($7.5 million annually), Pakistan developed the BADR-2 satellite, which employs a gravity gradient stabilization system, and carries a charge coupled device camera to test image transmission.

SUPARCO saw major cuts in its budget in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2007, 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 allocated space slots. The five slots were allocated 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.

With the country's extensive experience in ballistic missile technology, Pakistan possesses the fundamental pieces of technology know-how and hardware to put together a satellite launch vehicle (SLV) in a relatively short time. However, it is unlikely that Pakistan will boost space spending to try and follow its better funded neighbors into space any time soon, given its current economic crisis.

The Iranian satellite launch is likely to dramatically increase the clamoring by Israel and its supporters to act against Iran. They will no longer be content with the US covert actions already underway to destabilize Iran. There will be tremendous pressure on the Obama administration by the Israel lobby to launch strikes against Iranian sites developing nuclear and missile technologies. Any such strikes by US against Iran will completely scuttle the broader US domestic and international agenda under the new administration in Washington.

Related Links:

India Competes With Big Dogs in Space

Iran Launches Homegrown Satellite

Satellite Capabilities of Emerging Space-Competent Nations

Iran's Space Program

An Indian Analyst's assessment of Pakistan's Space Program

17 comments:

Anwar said...

Well done.
During Shah's time, there were a large number if Iranian students in the US and Europe that created a critical mass of intellectuals that later contributed to Iran's scientific endeavors. Parallels can be drawn with Indian professionals as well. At the time when young people from these countries were acquiring skills and knowledge, getting even a passport in Pakistan was a miracle... Not to mention the $30 max of foreign exchange the State Bank would allow to a prospective graduate student going abroad...

Riaz Haq said...

Anwar,
I agree. But I think Iran has also developed good, world-class universities such as Sharif university in Tehran that produces competent scientists and engineers to support Iran's ambitions as a regional power.

Here's what Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy says about Iran in his article titled "Reforming Universities in Pakistan":

Now to the west: Tehran’s Sharif University of Technology, and the Institute for Theoretical Physics and Mathematics, are impressive institutions filled with professional activity, workshops, and seminars. Even as they maintain good academic standards, Iranian university students are heavily political and today are spearheading the movement for freedom and democracy. Iranian students make it to the best US graduate schools. Although it is an Islamic republic, bookshops are more common than mosques in Tehran. Translations into Farsi appear in just weeks or months after a book is published in the western world.

Anonymous said...

Riaz-I agree with you that Iran has become better over the years inspite of foolish Ahmedjinad.All islamic states which practise moderation have changed, not to forget that Iran has received significant help from Russia.China,India in various sectors over the years.To get help our country needs stable society.Until 1990 Pakistan is better off compared to other islamic states with talent booming but look what happens when you let religious zeal go out of control.We get the name "Terrorist capital" .Rest all have become better but Pakistan gets defamed.This together with lies from its premier leaders.Unless pakistan has stable government,we will not succeed.Iran rise was expected among Indian and Russian circles and it was only a matter of time.Iran will only rise more as there is no other islamic state to challenge it in the near future.All because it has stable government with functioning judiciary.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon:

You suggest, "Until 1990 Pakistan is better off compared to other islamic states with talent booming..."

While I applaud Iran's accomplishments, I respectfully disagree with your assertion above. Pakistan has made major strides in missile and nuclear technology, there has been a big increase in Pakistani scientific and engineering papers published and cited in various fields (http://sciencewatch.com/dr/rs/08sep-rs/), the number of colleges and universities has dramatically increased, Pakistan's talent pool has made it among the top outsourcing destinations (http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/01/pakistan-ranks-among-top-outsourcing.html ), etc. Yes, Pakistan has a problem with Islamic radicals and insurgents, but it's not all doom and gloom. Pakistanis are very resilient and I am hopeful they will overcome the current problems.

Anonymous said...

Riaz - Bhains or parosi gadhon key aagey beein bajana band kardein ;-)

Riaz Haq said...

Received via email:

I vividly remember the Shahpar-3 launch when I was in Pakistan, right after East Pakistan got independent in Dec. 71. Bhutto and Yahya Khan made a big deal out of Shahpar launch, but we all knew that it was a French sounding rocket named Dragon, launched by the French themselves. I think it was built by Sud Aviation, which name I knew well back then because this same company also built the Caravelle jet planes, the prettiest airplanes the world has ever seen.

Pakistan has not launched a space rocket for several years now. As an aerospace engineer, I do not think launching missiles is the same as launching rockets. The dispensation technology in rockets is totally different (and more advanced) from those in missiles, and so is the trajectory management. Rockets have more powerful engines since they have to go far out against earth's gravity..

I do not trust Gerald Steinberg. I think that he, like most American commentators on Pakistan and Iran, generally have their facts screwed wrong, or are just plain full of sh--.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from an Op Ed by ex Indian diplomat Bhadrakumar:

Clearly, relations with the US are of the highest priority for India, as they are for Russia or China. But the similarity ends there. For the foreseeable future, despite the heart-warming prognosis by the world community hailing India as a potentially emerging global player, the hard reality is that such a prospect remains distant in the scheme of things. When it comes to issues such as the situation around Iran, India lacks the wherewithal of Russia or China.
---
On the other hand, India is almost similarly placed vis-a-vis the US as Brazil or Turkey are. The fact that these two countries, which are close partners of the US, have not drawn Washington's ire shouldn't go unnoticed. New Delhi's apprehensions that any independent line on the Iran nuclear issue might upset the rhythm of US-India relations seems, in introspect, to have been entirely unwarranted. Countries that have taken an independent line on the Iran nuclear issue during crucial IAEA votes - Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Egypt - have not exactly come to grief. On the contrary, India's traditional ties with Iran grievously suffered when it began blindly toeing the American line.

Worse still, Tehran harbors a suspicion that New Delhi might have used its ''Iran card'' to ingratiate itself with the George W Bush administration. The signs are that Tehran has made a cool analysis about damage control and has decided to more or less relegate its ties with New Delhi to a place on the backburner, even while going through the occasional motions of friendship and exchange of views that the two neighbors cannot do without.

New Delhi needs to take stock that Obama is an extraordinarily gifted politician endowed with intellectuality and it is conceivable he may come up with new thinking and a new approach to the problem. Monday's swap deal underscored indisputably that US policy on Iran is in a cul-de-sac. A reversal becomes inevitable. To be sure, Obama has taken note that Turkey and Brazil highlighted the existence of a whole world beyond the secretive, cloistered framework of the "Iran Six".

New Delhi has of late been attempting to follow in the footsteps of Russian and Chinese policies. Here too, a rethink is in order. India needs to factor in gains accruing to Russia and China from a continuing US-Iran standoff. The Western embargo against Tehran is keeping Iranian energy exports out of the European energy market that might otherwise have competed with Russian supplies. Energy exports constitute the single-biggest trump card of Russian foreign policy to modulate Western policies toward Moscow.

As for China, it is indeed having quite a field day as an exporter of goods and services to Iran as well as for advancing plans to evacuate Iranian gas and oil through pipelines across Central Asia that are nearing completion. In sum, Beijing has done splendidly well.

--------
India's diplomatic ingenuity lies in working on the US thinking to persuade it to become a partner in the Iran pipeline project. The prospect offers a "win-win" situation. Iran doesn't hide its panache for Big Oil. The US has stakes in India-Pakistan normalization. India and Pakistan's energy markets offer massive business for American oil companies. The US involvement acts as a guarantee for the pipeline. Least of all, Washington too wishes to make Tehran a stakeholder in regional stability.

Riaz Haq said...

Diplomat Bharakumar Op Ed on Iran-India contd:

Russia and China, therefore, have complementary interests in shepherding Iranian energy exports to the Asian market. How is India placed in the energy equations? On balance, India in no way benefits out of the US-Iran standoff and, in fact, has a great deal to lose as regional tensions prevail in a region which forms its extended neighborhood. The Iran nuclear issue potentially can complicate the US-India strategic partnership as New Delhi will be firmly opposed to any use of force in the resolution of the problem.
Equally, the bottom line is that Iran is a major source of energy supplies for the expanding Indian economy. In geopolitical terms, a leap of faith uncluttered by the debris in the India-Pakistan relationship will dictate that the Iran gas pipeline project offers a rare opportunity for New Delhi to make its western neighbor a stakeholder in regional cooperation. Even at the height of the Cold War with nuclear armies preparing for Armageddon, pipelines criss-crossed the Iron Curtain. Alas, the Indian strategic community has a closed mind, as things stand, when it comes to developing a matrix of regional cooperation that even remotely includes Pakistan.

India's diplomatic ingenuity lies in working on the US thinking to persuade it to become a partner in the Iran pipeline project. The prospect offers a "win-win" situation. Iran doesn't hide its panache for Big Oil. The US has stakes in India-Pakistan normalization. India and Pakistan's energy markets offer massive business for American oil companies. The US involvement acts as a guarantee for the pipeline. Least of all, Washington too wishes to make Tehran a stakeholder in regional stability.

New Delhi should closely study Turkey's motivations on the Iran nuclear issue. Turkey has interests almost similar to India's and its supple diplomacy enables it to astutely position itself for the day when the US-Iran standoff dissipates. Turkey estimates that Iran is a neighbor (although they have had a troubled relationship) while the US is a key North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally and any midwifery in the inevitable US-Iran rapprochement becomes a strategic asset for Ankara's growing stature as a regional power.

Indian diplomacy has lately made some interesting moves toward Iran, beginning with Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao's visit to Tehran in February. The desire to craft a fresh approach is also evident in External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's consultations this week in Tehran. The path is strewn with thorns, as the Iranians harbor a deep sense of hurt about India's stance at the IAEA votes. Therefore, as the US's tug-of-war with Iran intensifies, New Delhi faces the challenge of not treading on Tehran's sensitivities all over again.

On the whole, Indian policy is principled, especially its line that the IAEA ought to be in the driving seat rather than a cabal of states with dubious intentions. But New Delhi is lurking in the shadows in a blissful state of masterly inactivity.

India should openly join hands with Turkey and Brazil in opposing the need for a continued push for UN sanctions against Iran. No doubt, the diplomatic initiative by Turkey and Brazil creates an altogether new situation and Indian diplomacy should grasp its importance and seize its potentials.

Riaz Haq said...

There are reports that Pakistan is working on developing a satellite launch vehicle (SLV) called Taimur. It'll be based on Shaheen 2 design:

Pakistan successfully test-fired in four times a Shaheen-2 surface-to-surface ballistic missile. It has a range of 2,700 kilometres. It were the first test flights of the two stage solid-fuel Shaheen-2. The Shaheen-2 is the longest-range missile tested by Pakistan so far. Shaheen-2 is not an advanced version of Shaheen-1, which has a range of 700 kilometres.
All the planned technical parameters were successfully validated during the tests. The tests demonstrates Pakistan’s advanced scientific capability in the strategic field.
It is reported that the Shaheen 1 and 2 missiles have been developed by the Pakistan National Defence Complex (PNDC) with assistance from SUPARCO, the Pakistan space research organisation, and from the Atomic Energy Commission.

The Shaheen-1 (Hatf-4) is probably a copy of China's M-9 missile. The Shaheen-2 (Haft-6) is probably a copy of China's two-stage missile M-18.
The Shaheen-2 uses like the M-18, two aerospace solid rocket motors developed by China Hexi Chemical & Mechanical Company. A relevant motor for the first stage is the L-SpaB-140B with diameter of 1.40 m.


The future Space launch vehicle Taimur (three stage solid-fuel, diam. 1.40 m, length ~25 m) can transport a little scientific payload in a Low Earth Orbit. For the Taimur SLV is doubled the first stage of the Shaheen-2.
During the IDEAS 2002 defense exhibition Pakdef spotted two similar models of Pakistani Satellite Launch Vehicles. The first model points out a possible three stage SLV. Judging from other similar SLV's, it is estimated that it can place a payload weighing less than 80 kilogram to an orbit 450 kilometers above Earth's surface. The second model of the SLV seems similar to the first model however, with four extra boosters ( ? Abdali). Exact data are still unknown.

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...

PM says Abbottabad and Mehran base attacks raised false concerns about safety of nukes, according to Dunya News:

He pointed to the simultaneous propaganda onslaught against Pakistan and its nuclear programme.

Chairing the 19th meeting of the National Command Authority (NCA), Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani reviewed issues of national importance and developments in the regional and global security environment.

The NCA expressed satisfaction at the security and safety of Pakistan’s strategic programmes and facilities, besides approving the National Nuclear Programme 2050 and the Space Programme 2040.

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in his statement expressed government’s firm resolve to protect the country’s strategic and nuclear assets at all costs. “Such baseless, and certainly motivated, campaign against Pakistan will neither deter us from proceeding ahead.”
He said the strategic programme forms the core of Pakistan’s national security paradigm.

The Pakistan Armed Forces, and in fact the whole nation, takes its responsibility for national defence as a sacred duty. No one should ever under estimate our capability and resolve in this regard.

He said concerns have also been expressed internationally over potential threats from non-state actors to the security of strategic assets and facilities. While media reports have speculated on the possibility of sabotage and existence of contingency plans to take over Pakistan’s nuclear assets.

“Any such nefarious designs shall be thwarted effectively by the armed forces with full support of the people of Pakistan.”
The PM also pointed to the several developments that have taken place at the national, regional and international levels in the last few months.


http://dunyanews.tv/index.php?key=Q2F0SUQ9MiNOaWQ9MzA1NDc=

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Business Recorder report on Pakistani satellite launch by China:

The Pakistan Communication Satellite Paksat-1R is due to be launched in space from Chinese satellite launching site located at Xichang city in the second week of August, depending on weather conditions.

Paksat-1R will replace Paksat-1 which is going to complete its useful life in 2011. "Launching of a communication satellite is going to be a new symbolic development in Pakistan-China relations, as this will broaden the horizons of our cooperation," Khan said.

He said during Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Pakistan in December last year, our two governments had decided to deepen cooperation in space science and technology. "Paksat-1R, as the satellite is called, is a big step in that direction.

It will revolutionize the use of broadband Internet, digital television broadcasting and mobile telephony; spur our economy; and strengthen the education and health sectors.

It will also help us with disaster preparedness and response. Besides, young scientists and engineers are gaining new valuable expertise in the area of satellite technology.

Such cooperation with China also helps us move towards self-reliance" he noted. Tracing the history of cooperation between the two countries in the realm of space science, Ambassador Masood Khan said that it goes back to the 1990s when Pakistan launched its first low earth orbit satellite Badr-1. "Since then we have been enhancing our cooperation in space science and technology.

Many Pakistani scientists and engineers have studied aerospace sciences in Chinese universities and institutions," he added. He mentioned that: "We are now looking at cooperation in remote sensing satellites. It is a long term project with many civilian uses.

A remote sensing satellite will cover areas like agriculture, oceanography, disaster management and mitigation, crop monitoring, earth observation, water resources management, weather forecasting, and urban planning.

Such an application will have a direct positive impact on Pakistan's socio-economic development." China, Ambassador Khan said, has helped us in the development of our satellite industry for which we are extremely grateful.

Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) is establishing the necessary space technology infrastructure, he said, adding thus we are developing common technology platforms with China.

In due course of time Pakistan will want to develop its spaceflight programme, he added. Ambassador Khan said that during his visits to the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) he observed that professionals there are hardworking, intelligent, ingenious and resourceful.


http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/108-pakistan-top-news/22469-pak-astronaut-aboard-chinese-spacecraft-our-natural-aspiration-masood-khan-.html

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's PakSat-1R launched today in China, according to Spaceflight Now:

China deployed a communications satellite for Pakistan on Thursday aboard a Long March 3B rocket launched from a mountainous spaceport in the southwest China's Sichuan province.


Artist's concept of the PakSat 1R satellite in orbit. Credit: SUPARCO

The fresh spacecraft, called PakSat 1R, replaces Pakistan's aging national communications satellite launched in 1996.

The Long March 3B rocket soared off the launch pad at 1615 GMT (12:15 p.m. EDT). It was 12:15 a.m. local time Friday at the Xichang space center.

The 180-foot-tall rocket streaked off the launch pad with the help of four strap-on boosters, turned east from the Xichang space base and deployed PakSat 1R in orbit about 26 minutes after liftoff, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The satellite weighed about 11,000 pounds at the time of launch.

PakSat 1R was placed in an oval-shaped orbit stretching from a low point of approximately 110 miles to a high point of about 26,000 miles. Its orbital inclination was about 24.8 degrees, according to independent tracking data.

The spacecraft will reach a circular orbit about 22,300 miles above the equator in the coming weeks. PakSat 1R will enter service after testing of its engineering systems and communications payload.

Stationed at 38 degrees east longitude, PakSat 1R will provide communications and broadcasting services to Pakistan and neighboring regions for at least 15 years. The satellite carries 18 Ku-band and 12 C-band transponders, according to Pakistan's Space and Upper Atmospheric Research Commission, or SUPARCO.

SUPARCO is Pakistan's national space agency, which fields the government's Earth observation and communications satellites.

PakSat 1R was built by the China Academy of Space Technology and is based on the DFH-4 spacecraft platform. China has reached agreements to build DFH-4 communications satellites for several non-traditional players in the space industry, including Pakistan, Nigeria, Venezuela, Laos and Bolivia.

Thursday's flight was the seventh space launch of the year for China. All of the missions have been successful.


http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1108/11longmarch/

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.


http://www.dawn.com/2011/10/05/pakistan-needs-trained-manpower-in-space-sciences.html

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.....


http://www.brecorder.com/top-stories/single/595/0/1249247/

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. http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/2014/0918-nasas-global-reach-pakistan.html