Saturday, September 2, 2023

India's Chandrayaan 3 Success: Can Pakistanis Explore Space?

India's recent Chandrayaan 3 success has triggered serious soul searching among Pakistanis. They are asking: Can we explore space? Do we have the basic technical knowhow? Are there any serious rocket scientists among Pakistanis? The answer to all three questions is absolutely YES. Pakistan's NESCOM (National Engineering and Science Commission) has developed, tested and supported deployment of several solid and liquid fueled multi-stage rockets for the nation's highly advanced missile program. In multiple test flights conducted over the years, these NESCOM missiles have traveled long distances through space at hypersonic speeds to deliver payloads to their designated targets. 

From Rehbar to Shaheen: 

Pakistan has certainly come a long way from the Rehbar series of rockets tested by SUPARCO in the 1960s. With some investment of time and money, the NESCOM rockets designed for the military can be repurposed to launch satellites into space. But it has not been a priority for Pakistan. It will likely become a high priority when sending rockets into space starts to be seen as a matter of national security. After all, Pakistan has to prepare itself for the possibility of India using its kinetic capabilities to threaten Pakistan militarily by attacking its six satellites currently in space, including the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS). 

Pakistan's Shaheen 3 Launch. Source: ISPR

US-Soviet Space Race History: 

In the early years of the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union started developing rockets for use in long-range missiles. But this race to build weapons later turned into a race to build rockets for space exploration. The same rocket that could carry a nuclear warhead could (and sometimes did) also launch spacecraft into orbit. This intense investment in engineering for missiles and rockets sparked off the Space Race, according to space historians at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. 

Pakistan's Shaheen 3: 

Pakistan has successfully tested Shaheen III ballistic missile.  It is a medium-range ballistic missile with a maximum flight altitude of 692 kilometers. The Kármán line, the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space, is located at an altitude of 62 miles (100 kilometers) above sea level. Shaheen 3 can strike targets up to 2,750 kilometers away.  Its multi-stage solid-fuel technology can also be used to launch satellites into space. It has been jointly developed by the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) and the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO). It's the latest example of dual-use technology.  

Shaheen-III is the latest in the series of the indigenously produced Shaheen-I and Shaheen-II, which had shorter ranges.  Since the technology used in satellite launch vehicles (SLV) is virtually identical to that used in a ballistic missile, Shaheen 3, the latest enhancement to the Shaheen series of missiles, is expected to boost Pakistan's space program as well.  The United States and the Soviet Union used their military missiles in the space race.  More recently, several nations, including India and Israel, have used the same rocket motors for  both ballistic missiles and satellite launch vehicles (SLVs).  Israel's Shavit SLV and India's SLV-3 are examples of it. 

Space Defense: 

For its defense, Pakistan has non-kinetic anti-satellite (ASAT) options, including: Jamming, Spoofing, Meaconing, Laser, High-powered microwave attacks. Pakistan has to prepare itself for the possibility of India using its kinetic capabilities to threaten Pakistan militarily by attacking its six satellites currently in space, including the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS).  India has already demonstrated it in 2019 by destroying its own satellite with an anti-satellite missile system (ASAT).  The debris from the destroyed satellite still circulates in orbit. More than 50 pieces of debris remain in space, posing a small but potential threat to other spacecraft. 


Anonymous said...

Shaheen 3 can put a Sputnik type satellite in orbit but for fancy things like Chandrayaan Mangalyaan or even putting multi tonne geostationary communications satellites in orbit you need dedicated space launchers not modified ballistic missiles.

Shaheen 3 will allow Pakistan to match what India achieved in 1980 with the SLV3.

Vineeth said...

"Since the technology used in satellite launch vehicles (SLV) is virtually identical to that used in a ballistic missile, Shaheen 3, the latest enhancement to the Shaheen series of missiles, is expected to boost Pakistan's space program as well."

I think you are taking a rather simplistic look at Satellite Launch Vehicle technology here. To be sure, SLVs and missiles do appear to share the same basic technology, and missiles could often be repurposed to make small SLVs. However, the capabilities and payload of such SLVs are likely to be limited when compared to purpose-built SLVs.

To illustrate, take a look at the story of ISRO's rockets.

- SLV-3: The four-stage, 22m tall, 17 tonne SLV-3, India's first SLV from the 1980s, could launch barely 40 kg into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
- ASLV: Adding two more of those first stages as strapons increased the payload to 150kg in the ASLV rocket during the late '80s.
- PSLV: To acquire the capability to launch India's operational IRS remote sensing satellites weighing 1 tonne or more into polar sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) required the development of PSLV - a 44m tall, 320 tonne rocket which used six SLV first stages merely as optional strapons around a much larger 139 tonne solid core.
- GSLV: To launch 2-tonne class INSAT communication satellites into geo-stationary transfer orbit (GTO) needed the addition of liquid-fuelled strapons and a cryogenic-fuelled (hydrolox - LH2/LOX) upper stage in place of PSLV's third and fourth stages to create the GSLV.
- LVM3: GSLV was found to be underpowered as the mass of communication satellites climbed above 4 tonnes and more. As a result, the LVM3 rocket was developed as an all-new design with a large 4m diameter liquid-fuelled core stage flanked by two large solid boosters and a more powerful cryogenic upper stage. It can lob upto 4.5 tonnes to GTO and was used to launch Chandrayaan-2 and Chandrayaan-3 spacecrafts and will be used for India's human spaceflight program - Gaganyaan - as well.

And it isn't merely about rocket propulsion. Rockets and spacecrafts need advanced guidance systems, autonomous computers and restartable upper stages to deploy satellites to precise orbits or to do interplanetary missions. In short, it was a long journey for ISRO to reach where it is now.

Though its payload might be small, Pakistan can definitely make an attempt at creating a small SLV for launching micro-satellites by adding a small upper stage to its Shaheen missile. But it isn't as easy as it sounds and there will be many failures along the way. Just look at the troubles Iranians and North Koreans have been having in making SLVs out of their missiles.

"More recently, several nations, including India and Israel, have used the same rocket motors for both ballistic missiles and satellite launch vehicles (SLVs). Israel's Shavit SLV and India's SLV-3 are examples of it."

Israel's small Shavit SLV is based on the Jericho ballistic missile. In India's case, the sharing of rocket motors between SLVs and missiles happened only at the very beginning (SLV-3 and Agni-1/2). DRDO's later missiles like Agni-III/IV/V and ISRO's PSLV/GSLV/LVM3 rockets have almost nothing in common.

"Pakistan has to prepare itself for the possibility of India using its kinetic capabilities to threaten Pakistan militarily by attacking its six satellites currently in space, including the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS)"

Perhaps Pakistan needs to come out of this national security centric approach towards its space program. It appears to have resulted in military's stranglehold over SUPARCO essentially stunting its growth. Also, can you tell me the six satellites Pakistan is using at present? I guess there is PRSS-1 and PakTES-1A operational in SSO and Paksat-1R in GTO. The earlier satellites Badr-1, Badr-A and Paksat-1 would be inoperative now.

Vineeth said...

"The debris from the destroyed satellite still circulates in orbit. More than 50 pieces of debris remain in space, posing a small but potential threat to other spacecraft."

Indian ASAT test on Microsat-R satellite was conducted at a much lower altitude and most (if not all) of the trackable debris have decayed.

"According to NASA, 49 tracked pieces of debris remained in orbit as of 15 July 2019."

"As of 26 September 2019, there were 50 tracked pieces of debris in orbit but 9 of them were lost (no updates for more than 30 days) according to astrodynamicist T. S. Kelso."

"As of March 2022, only one catalogued piece of debris from Microsat-R remains in orbit: COSPAR 2019-006DE, SATCAT 44383. This final piece decayed from orbit 14 June 2022."

All information above taken from Wikipedia.

While mentioning the Indian ASAT test from 2019, you seem to have forgotten to mention the Chinese ASAT test from 2007 which created far larger number of debris and which are likely to pose a far greater threat to satellites for a long time to come due to their higher orbit. It has already claimed its first victim - a Russian satellite - if reports are to be believed.

"On 11 January 2007, a Chinese weather satellite—the FY-1C (COSPAR 1999-025A) polar orbit satellite of the Fengyun series, at an altitude of 865 kilometres (537 mi), with a mass of 750 kilograms (1,650 lb)—was destroyed by a kinetic kill vehicle traveling with a speed of 8 km/s (18,000 mph) in the opposite direction. It was launched with a multistage solid-fuel missile from Xichang Satellite Launch Center or nearby."

"The 2007 Chinese ASAT test created the largest field of space debris in history, with more than 3,000 pieces of trackable size (golf ball size and larger) officially catalogued in the immediate aftermath, and an estimated 150,000 debris particles. As of October 2016, a total of 3,438 pieces of debris had been detected, with 571 decayed and 2,867 still in orbit nine years after the incident."

"In early 2013, the Russian concept satellite BLITS collided with what is believed to be a piece of debris from Fengyun-1C, was knocked out of its orbit and soon afterwards data retrieval from the satellite ceased."

"As of April 2019, 3000 of the 10,000 pieces of space debris routinely tracked by the US military as a threat to the International Space Station were known to have originated from the 2007 satellite shoot down."

Riaz Haq said...

Anon and Vineeth:

Back in the 1970s, Indian analysts argued that Pakistan could not develop nuclear weapons or missiles to deliver such weapons. Now I am hearing similar arguments from my Indian friends as to why Pakistanis can not compete in space.

Please read this report by a Delhi-based Indian think tank. Yogesh Joshi, the author of this report, is just as guilty of anti-Pakistan biases as the Indian intelligence agencies he criticizes:

Hubris, Biases, and Overlearning: A Historical Analysis of How India Missed Pakistan’s Nuclear Coup


"Intelligence agencies are prone to exaggerate an adversary’s capabilities. Indian intelligence in the mid-1970s, meanwhile, severely underestimated Pakistan’s nuclear cunning. For a crucial part of those years, India could not identify AQ Khan’s clandestine nuclear activities to acquire Uranium enrichment technology. This brief names three reasons: hubris, biases, and overlearning from one’s experiences. For New Delhi, this is as much a part of Khan’s legacy as that of the nuclearisation of the subcontinent that Khan ultimately unraveled"

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

Thanks for starting this great post , Sir pls also mention about the history of SUPARCO( Space Agency of Pakistan ) as how it has suffered after 1970s. Before 1970s SUPARCO( Space Agency of Pakistan) was making good progress but it’s downfall actually started when Zulfiqar Bhutto became President . His nationalisation policies for different sectors and departments actually caused great loss to these sectors and departments and have also caused loss to economy of the country .

He did the same thing with SUPARCO, after when India tested its nuclear bomb in 1974 I think . It rang alarms of threat in the government of Pakistan and President Bhutto became worried and cautious of this great threat . His priority actually shifted to strengthening the Defence of the country . He ordered that all the scientists who were working in SUPARCO should shift or move to Atomic Commission of Pakistan where they should study and focus about how to develope nuclear program for Pakistan.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

Their are some Pakistani engineers and astrophysicists who are mashallah working in NASA . Recently another Pakistani by the name as far as I remember Faisal Khan has been selected by NASA for its star program .

Their was a Pakistani young student girl whom NASA actually called and invited and she invented a glass that could remove or reduce the nap from the scientists and engineers so that they don’t sleep and focus on their work .

Sir the government of Pakistan must contact these Pakistanis working in NASA and get some tips and information about how to revive and move SUPARCO in forward direction .

Sir I would request you to pls contact these Pakistanis working in NASA . I am sure inshallah they will respond to you with a positive attitude and this will inshallah develope a great relation between you and them . You can convience them about how they can contribute in the development and consolidation of the space program of SUPARCO .

Sir also these Pakistanis working at NASA can be contacted by different Institutes of Pakistan like Air University in Islamabad and by IST( Institute of Space Technology ) in Islamabad and coordinate with the management of these universities . These Pakistanis working at NASA are actually precious asset for Pakistan mashallah and they can contribute in the designing of the course outlines for the space programs which are taught in these universities of Pakistan and obviously since they are in America , they can offer their great ideas and share their experience of how to design the course outline for the education of space programs offered in these Universities of Pakistan and which latest topics based on the latest researches in the field of space science which is done by NASA and other space agencies of Europe should be included in the curriculums of these universities .


Vineeth said...

"Back in the 1970s, Indian analysts argued that Pakistan could not develop nuclear weapons or missiles to deliver such weapons. Now I am hearing similar arguments from my Indian friends as to why Pakistanis can not compete in space."

I will never say Pakistan cannot "compete" in space. Perhaps we need to think of this as something beyond a "competition" as if this is a race for which there is a prize to win. Countries should pursue space programs based on their needs and at their own pace. That said, it isn't incorrect to say Pakistan is well behind India in developing its space program, just as it is correct to say that India is behind China in its space capabilities. Perhaps Pakistan never felt a need for an active space program on a similar scale as India's due to different priorities or funding constraints. Either way, its upto Pakistanis to decide what to do with their money and their space program and the rest of the world shouldn't judge.

What I tried to say in my earlier comment is that having a successful launch vehicle program isn't as easy as simply "repurposing" a ballistic missile like Shaheen into an improvised SLV. For one, SLVs need efficient upper stages and better control and guidance systems to inject their payloads precisely into their desired orbits. And if you want to put something heavier than a few tens of kilograms, you will need more powerful boosters and upper stages as well. The troubles that both North Korea and Iran have been facing in making reliable SLVs using their missile tech despite their early successes in putting small satellites into orbit illustrate this.

From launching a 35-kg Rohini satellite into orbit on an SLV-3 rocket in 1980, it took ISRO decades of effort, trials and failures to reach a position where it can put several tonnes of payload into orbit or send spacecrafts to Moon and Mars. Its a marathon, not a 100m sprint. It isn't as if given a green light by the authorities, Pakistan can quickly build an SLV (like a magician who pulls a rabbit out of his hat) and then in another few years it can launch a probe that lands on the moon. Pakistan will have to start small like Iran and North Korea and then invest decades of effort into building its launch capabilities.

Majumdar said...

Brofessor sb,

Of course Pak can. As I pointed out in an earlier thread, Pak set up SUPARCO a year before the predecessor of ISRO, its first satellite a year before India's. In 1969, when NASA wanted gravity data for the moon landing for the Indian ocean region, it was SUPARCO which came to the rescue after ISRO expressed its inability. The talent and capability is therem it is just a question of putting resources on the job and a capable leadership.

Jag said...

Sure Pakistan can have a successful space programme.

It is not an exaggeration, when the entire world know about how Pakistanis developed nukes and its delivery system.

Pakistan just has to use its age old adage of 'beg, borrow, steal' for its space programme just as it used it for it nuclear programme.

Riaz Haq said...

Jag: "Pakistan just has to use its age old adage of 'beg, borrow, steal' for its space programme just as it used it for it nuclear programme"

And ancient Hindus discovered the modern technologies of computers, rockets and space science thousands of years ago when the West had no clue :-)

"Hindu nationalists claim that ancient Indians had airplanes, stem cell technology, and the internet​"

"The rapid rise of pseudoscience in the Modi era triggers ridicule and concern"​

EP said...


Funny you mention it. Do you know the history of U.S. and U.S.S.R. Space programs?

Operation Paperclip

"Operation Paperclip was a secret United States intelligence program in which more than 1,600 German scientists, engineers, and technicians were taken from the former Nazi Germany to the U.S. for government employment after the end of World War II in Europe, between 1945 and 1959. Conducted by the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA), it was largely carried out by special agents of the U.S. Army's Counterintelligence Corps (CIC). Many of these personnel were former members and some were former leaders of the Nazi Party"

German influence on the Soviet space program

"During World War II Nazi Germany developed rocket technology that was more advanced than that of the Allies and a race commenced between the Soviet Union and the United States to capture and exploit the technology. Soviet rocket specialist were sent to Germany in 1945 to obtain V-2 rockets and worked with German specialists in Germany and later in the Soviet Union to understand and replicate the rocket technology. The involvement of German scientists and engineers was an essential catalyst to early Soviet efforts. In 1945 and 1946 the use of German expertise was invaluable in reducing the time needed to master the intricacies of the V-2 rocket, establishing production of the R-1 rocket and enable a base for further developments. However, after 1947 the Soviets made very little use of German specialists and their influence on the future Soviet space program was marginal"

Operation Osoaviakhim (Russian: Операция «Осоавиахим», romanized: Operatsiya "Osoaviakhim") was a secret Soviet operation under which more than 2,500 former Nazi German specialists (Специалисты; i.e. scientists, engineers and technicians who worked in specialist areas) from companies and institutions relevant to military and economic policy in the Soviet occupation zone of Germany (SBZ) and the Soviet sector of Berlin, as well as around 4,000 more family members, totalling more than 6,000 people, were transported from former Nazi Germany as war reparations in the Soviet Union. It took place in the early morning hours of October 22, 1946 when MVD (previously NKVD) and Soviet Army units under the direction of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD), headed by Ivan Serov

Riaz Haq said...

Let's explore the reality of the "indigenous" claim repeated ad infintum by Indian government and New Delhi's defense establishment.

US-European Origins of Indian Missile Program:

APJ Abul Kalam is credited with designing India's first satellite launcher SLV3. Its design is virtually identical to the American Scout rocket used in the 1960s. According to the details published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Abul Kalam spent four months in training in the United States in 1963-1964. He visited NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia, where the U.S. Scout rocket was conceived, and the Wallops Island Flight Center on the Virginia coast, where the Scout was being flown. Soon after Abul Kalam's visit, India requested and received detailed technical reports on the Scout's design, which was unclassified.

US Scout and India's SLV3 are both 23 meters long, use four similar solid-fuel stages and "open loop" guidance, and lift a 40-kilogram payload into low earth orbit. The SLV's 30-foot first stage later became the first stage of the Agni.

The United States was followed by others. Between 1963 and 1975, more than 350 U.S., French, Soviet, and British sounding rockets were launched from India's Thumba Range, which the United States helped design. Thumba's first group of Indian engineers had learned rocket launching and range operation in the United States.

India's other missile, the "Prithvi" (earth), which uses a liquid-propelled motor to carry a one-ton payload 150 miles, resembles the widely sold Soviet Scud-B. Indian sources say that the Agni's second stage is a shortened version of the Prithvi, according to Gary Milhollin of the Wisconsin Project.

France also launched sounding rockets from India, and in the late 1960s allowed India to begin building "Centaure" sounding rockets under license from Sud Aviation.

The aid of the United States and France, however, was quickly surpassed by substantial West German help in the 1970s and 1980s. Germany assisted India in three key missile technologies: guidance, rocket testing, and the use of composite materials. All were supposed to be for the space program, but all were also used for military missiles.

The cryogenic stage used in a recent failed satellite launch by India was a copy of the Russian cryogenic rocket engine and the cryogenic technology transferred to India in the 1990s. According to Non-proliferation review of 1997, it has emerged that Russia continued transferring rocket engine technology to India in 1993 after its agreements with the United States stop such transfer under MTCR. This reportedly resulted in the completion of 60 to 80 percent of the transfers to India.

North American Origins of India's Nuclear Bomb:

India's nuclear program would not have advanced without a lot of help from Canadians that resulted in Indian copies of Canadian reactors to produce plutonium for its nuclear bombs.

India conducted its first atomic bomb test in 1974. Indians used 40 MW Canadian Cirus reactor and U.S. heavy water both imported under guarantees of peaceful use and used them openly to make plutonium for its 1974 nuclear blast.

Navdeep said...

I think , now days going to space is not difficult. If pakistan starts with even modest budgest, can do it within 10yrs .


1.Because all the hard work and technology inventions have been already done.
2. With the advent of 3D printing, testing the concept and theories is relatively easy.
3. It is becoming cheaper to go to space, Pakistan just needs to send small satellite to prove the concept.
Later can scale up the engines etc - which will take time but is doable with time.

Indian/Chinese efforts are worthy of praise , but they are not that extraordinary. Media just making money by milking the news.

Right now nothing is done Extra ordinary when it comes to space. It's same old repeat of space flights. Not a single new thing is being invented right now.

Ofcourse research is still on.

Real deal will be humans going to another planet.

Vineeth said...

"US Scout and India's SLV3 are both 23 meters long, use four similar solid-fuel stages and "open loop" guidance, and lift a 40-kilogram payload into low earth orbit."

The relationship between the SLV-3 and Scout is well known and acknowledged by Abdul Kalam himself. SLV-3 isn't an exact copy of the Scout, but was closely modelled on Scout's available specifications to achieve a similar capability. But that's how many countries started out on their space and missile programs. After WW II, both US and USSR used German technicians and their V-2 rocket design. The early Soviet and American rocket designs were based on V-2. Was Pakistan's missile programs truly "indigenous"? The Ghauri missile is known to be derived from North Korea's Nodong, while Shaheen-1 was based on Chinese M-11 (according to Federation of American Scientists). And the Chinese themselves developed their early missiles and rockets based on Soviet designs. That's how the rabbit hole goes.

It is one thing to acquire blueprints for a rocket or an engine, but quite another to build an indigenous capability to manufacture and test them. For one, you need to know what materials and alloys to use and how to manufacture them. Secondly, you need to have the industrial infrastructure to manufacture and test large rocket parts. For example, ISRO got the design of its Vikas liquid propellant engine from France during the 1970s as ISRO engineers were part of the Viking engine development for Ariane-I rocket. But it took them time to create an indigenous industrial capacity to manufacture and test them and the first PSLV that used a Vikas engine in its second stage flew only in 1993.

It was a similar story with India's first cryogenic (hydrolox) engine - the CE-7.5 used in GSLV rocket - whose design was based on the KVD-1 engine sold by Russia. Their struggles in manufacturing and operationalizing that engine gave ISRO engineers valuable experience in indigenously developing a more powerful CE-20 cryogenic engine which is used in LVM3 rocket.

Similarly the new semi-cryogenic (kerolox) SCE-200 engine India is developing to upgrade the LVM3 rocket is based on the Ukrainian RD-810 engine. (China's equivalent, the YF-100 used in the new Long March 5/6/7 rockets, is based on Russian RD-120). Again, the challenge for India in this project has been in the fabrication of its parts with the necessary quality levels and precision and building facilities to test such a large engine.

And speaking once again of SLV-3 and Scout, you can even find similarities in the overall design of India's LVM3 rocket (that launched Chandrayaan-3) and the American Titan-III, as both use an air-lit hypergolic core flanked by two large solid strapons that provide the initial thrust for lift-off. It is quite likely that ISRO engineers had the Titan-III in mind while developing LVM3 with a similar payload capability.

Ameer A. said...

Solid fuel launch vehicles have a much lower specific impulse when compared to a liquid fuel vehicles. However solid rockets are commonly used as strap-on booster to the main engine. A liquid fuel engine can be throttled and restarted in flight. There are many similarities between the basics of launch vehicle and missiles but there are many differences too.

Even launching a remote sensing payload into sun synchronous orbit of 600 km would require a two stage vehicle (N2O4/UDMH) with strap-on boosters to get around 7.5 km/sec. Each stage needing 250,000 lbs and 10,000 lbs of thrust plus strap-on boosters. On the other hand you can create an Indian mickey-mouse system like PSLV with 4-stage under-powered engines. All Indian rockets are under powered and that is why they needed multiple orbital boosts (delta-Vs) to get to the moon.

Pakistan Army decided in 70s to give up the launch vehicle and satellites programs. All my classmates who went to University of Surrey for training from SUPARCO later moved over to commercial companies. As far as reaching 100 km orbits SUPARCO already achieved that early in 60s when they launched sounding rockets to gather sub-orbital weather data for NASA.

Vineeth said...

"On the other hand you can create an Indian mickey-mouse system like PSLV with 4-stage under-powered engines. All Indian rockets are under powered and that is why they needed multiple orbital boosts (delta-Vs) to get to the moon."

If that mickey-mouse system can deliver its payloads to orbit reliably and economically, who cares if it is "under-powered"? Multiple orbital boosts is an excellent method that in effect allows a rocket to deliver a greater payload to a given orbit than it can do with direct injection. It is one of the reasons why rockets typically deliver communication satellites to geo-stationary transfer orbit (GTO) than geostationary orbit (GEO) directly. The only downside is the time delay to reach the target orbit, which can be compensated by doing the launch early.

"As far as reaching 100 km orbits SUPARCO already achieved that early in 60s when they launched sounding rockets to gather sub-orbital weather data for NASA."

100 km orbit? Sounding rockets often reach outer space (above 100 km altitude) but do not attain the velocity required to attain orbit. They do sub-orbital flights only. As far as I know, SUPARCO's rockets never reached orbit.

Ahmed said...

Salam Sir

These Indians come to newspages of Pakistan on Facebook and on YouTube channels of Pakistan and very proudly call the PM of Pakistan as beggers and they even go to an extent of calling the entire country of Pakistan as begger but these Indians don’t accept the fact that according to OEDC( Organization of Economic Development and Cooperation) , India is the biggest reciever of private charity in the world . This charity is given by private foundations and private charity organizations .

Also according to some news sources India is the top recepient of financial aid from America and also it recieved lot of aid money from England since many decades .

Also world bank gave millions of dollars to India so that Indian government could focus on improving its countries problems of sanitation .

Anonymous said...

I am sure that if Pakistanis set their mind to it they can develop the technology to send a mission to the moon. But the question is should Pakistan follow India. Our part of the world is barely above Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of human development.
These resources could be used to improve health and education of the poor. I am not sure if this is cost justifiable in our part of the world.
If Pakistan must spend money on technology than I would rather that we spend it on AI and other emerging technologies that could bring fruit in a very short period of time.

Riaz Haq said...

Vijainder K Thakur
How Russia Could Well Be Defeated

Ukraine's repeated attacks on Russian Black Sea fleet warships have inflicted a lot of pain on Russia, but the attacks are not going to help Ukraine win the war in any conceivable manner. Fleet warships are not participating in the war in any substantial way, other than some small warships occasionally launching cruise missile attacks against Ukraine.

The Ukrainian attacks are aimed at weakening Russia, which is not Ukraine's war aim in the conflict. Ukraine's war aim is to forcibly seize back its territories that have switched allegiance to Russia. So why is Ukraine repeatedly striking Russian air and naval assets in Crimea instead of focusing on its three months old counteroffensive which, despite huge personnel losses, has made little progress.

Weakening Russia is a US/NATO war aim and make no mistakes; indeed, the US & NATO are waging a low intensity war aimed at weakening Russia, particularly the Russian grip on the Black Sea and its influence in the region. Overly cautious Russia has chosen to turn a Nelson eye towards the US & NATO war being waged against it.

The attacks on Crimea by aerial and maritime drones, cruise missiles and saboteurs are being orchestrated by US/NATO personnel - weapon system specialists and data analysts - using US/NATO ISR, communication and navigation assets. In any given operation, more US/NATO personnel are involved than Ukrainian personnel.

The large number of US/NATO ISR assets committed to the attacks on Russian Naval bases in Crimea is testimony to the fact that the US and NATO are waging an altogether separate war on the side of the Ukraine conflict. A war that doesn't help Ukraine regain its lost territory. A war that is militarily weakening Russia.

If Russia doesn't challenge the US and NATO now it may not be in a position to do so a few months from now. The attacks on Russian Naval and air bases are not just likely to persist, they are likely to intensify and get more deadly. The US is on the verge of supplying ATACMS to Ukraine. It may well have supplied them already. Same could be true of the German Taurus missile.

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, speaking in the context of the ATACMS supply on ABC, clearly stated, "In terms of their targeting decisions, it's their decision, not ours." He was clearly overstepping a Russian red line.

How many more warships of the Black Sea fleet does Russia want to lose to US/NATO attacks? The fact is, once the Russian Black Sea fleet is debilitated, the next logical step for the US would be to move a carrier group into the Black Sea. Turkey's desire and ability to stop the US, Turkey's NATO ally, from moving a carrier group into the Black Sea, is questionable.

Once a US carrier group moves into the Black Sea, Ukrainians special forces, who currently get cluster bombed into oblivion in their high-speed boats when they make surreptitious attempts to beach in Crimea at night, will be able to arrive unscathed in Crimea in beachwear on sailboats during the day! A Russian defeat would be inevitable. It will be a grind to the last Ukrainian. It will take time. But it will be inevitable.

Russia's only option to prevent defeat would be to fight NATO by shooting down US/NATO ISR assets and if necessary, attacking their low earth surveillance and communication satellites. As I have said before, without the ISR assets and communication network, US forces cannot fight even Mexican drug lords.

So the big question for Russia is - Why not be prepared to fight NATO now when it still has its Black Sea fleet intact? The fact is Russian readiness to fight NATO is likely to bring peace, not war, because the US and NATO, even as they prepare for war, have no stomach for it. Russian readiness to fight US and NATO will bring peace a lot faster than continued Russian diffidence.

Riaz Haq said...

Cheaper space travel technology
Anand Kumar Published November 11, 2013

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a state-owned agency, is spending less than $75 million on the mission; a similar venture, launched by America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) would be at least six times more expensive.

The ISRO was able to launch the mission in less than 18 months, whereas Nasa or some other international agency would need more than three years to launch such a project.

More importantly, the Mangalyaan mission has been developed indigenously by Indian space technologists and engineers, and was launched by ISRO’s polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) — its warhorse for launching satellites and other objects into space.

The Indian space agency was keen to launch the orbiter on its geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV), instead of the under-powered PSLV. However, the GSLV has had a lot of problems since its launch in 2001. Of the seven launches, only two have succeeded. The latest attempt, in August, also ended in failure following the detection of a leakage.

In fact, the ISRO has suffered several setbacks in recent years following the failure of the GSLV to take off. It has also led to bitter recriminations, with former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair accusing the incumbent chairman, K Radhakrishnan, of pursuing the Mars mission to cover-up the agency’s failure on the GSLV front.

Nair recently dubbed the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) as ‘useless’ and ‘a showpiece event’. According to him, the space agency should have utilised the $75 million on getting the GSLV up and about, which would have ensured it good returns.

“Instead of concentrating on practical missions, we are spending money to prove nothing,” says Nair. “It is claimed that the Mars mission will prove new technologies. As a person familiar with these technologies, I believe that there is no new technology involved.”

THE GSLV was developed by the ISRO to enable it to launch large satellites into geosynchronous orbits around the earth. And while the PSLV has been a huge success, it can only launch smaller satellites.

The PSLV has so far launched more than 60 satellites and spacecraft, including 35 foreign ones. It is capable of launching 1,600kg satellites into the 620km, sun-synchronous polar orbit, and 1,050kg satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbit.

The GSLV would have given India the capability to launch heavier satellites in the 2,000-plus kilogramme category into geosynchronous orbit, besides launching interplanetary (or even lunar) spacecraft.

At present, it has to depend on other international space agencies for launching such satellites. The fate of India’s ambitious lunar mission, the Chandrayaan 2, depends on the successful launch of the GSLV.

The agency has been working on an indigenous cryogenic engine for the GSLV, but teething problems have persisted for years. The ISRO now plans to launch the GSLV next month.

Working on a shoe-string budget of about $1 billion a year, the Indian space agency has been forced to cut costs while developing new technologies. In the past, the agency had taken help from the former Soviet Union (and since the break-up of the USSR, with Russia). However, Russia has its own problems relating to the launch of spacecraft.

The ISRO is now increasingly seeking cooperation with Nasa. The American space agency is launching another Mars orbiter — the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN) — later this month.

The two spacecraft, Mangalyaan and MAVEN, will be collaborating during their sojourn around the red planet. Nasa will also extend communication and tracking services to the ISRO through its deep space network.

While India launched its space exploration project in the 1960s, much of it was focused on launching satellites, including those meant for communications, weather forecasting and agricultural purposes. Chandrayaan, its maiden unmanned lunar mission probe, was launched in 2008 to explore the moon.

Riaz Haq said...

“India's rockets are not powerful enough to send spacecraft directly to the Moon. Instead, they use a circuitous route that takes advantage of earth's gravity. The spacecraft is first placed in a geosynchronous transfer orbit by the GSLV Mark3 or LVM 3, which has a 4 ton lifting capacity. Once the spacecraft reaches its apogee (farthest point from earth), it is given a final burst of acceleration that will slingshot it into the Moon's orbit,” added Linganna.'s%20rockets%20are%20not%20powerful,a%204%20ton%20lifting%20capacity.

Come July 14, India's lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, will take off on its journey to the moon. The mission is similar to its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2, but without an orbiter. The propulsion module of the spacecraft will carry the lander and rover configuration to a 100km lunar orbit. It will also behave like a communications relay satellite and carry a payload called Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) to study the earth from a lunar orbit.

But why would the spacecraft take more than a month to reach the moon?

“The journey to the moon is very difficult. It requires precise calculations, careful planning, and a deep understanding of space physics. The moon's orbit around the earth is elliptical, which means that its distance from the earth varies. At its closest point, the moon is 363,104km from earth. At its farthest point, it is 405,696km away. The average distance between the earth and the moon is 384,400km. Scientists have to take all of this into account when planning trips to the moon. The Chandrayaan-2 mission took about six weeks to reach the moon. It followed a cautious trajectory to ensure a safe landing. The journey involved a series of braking manoeuvres to slow the spacecraft's descent,” explained aerospace and space expert Girish Linganna.

The Chandrayaan-2 mission had used a series of maneuvers to increase its speed and escape earth's gravity. These earth orbit-raising maneuvers were done by firing the spacecraft's engines to increase its velocity. The maneuvers gradually increased the spacecraft's distance from earth until it was able to escape the gravitational pull. After escaping earth's gravity, Chandrayaan-2 entered a lunar orbit. It then began a series of lunar orbit insertion (LOI) maneuvers to descend to the moon's surface. They were done by firing the spacecraft's engines to decrease its velocity. The maneuvers gradually decreased the spacecraft's altitude until it was close enough to the moon's surface to land.

The final maneuver was called the landing burn. This was a short and powerful burn that slowed the spacecraft down enough to allow it to land safely on the moon. The landing burn was successful, and Chandrayaan-2 landed on the moon on September 7, 2019. However, the lander Vikram crash-landed on the moon's surface, and the rover Pragyan was unable to deploy.

“Chandrayaan-3 is expected to reach the moon by the end of August if it launches on July 14. The spacecraft will take a similar approach to the moon as its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2. The journey could take 45-48 days, and the spacecraft could reach the moon by August 23 or 24,” said Linganna.

If one has to go back in history, the Apollo 8 mission was the fastest journey to the moon, taking 69 hours and 8 minutes. Every mission after Apollo 8 took at least 74 hours to reach the moon. The Apollo 17 mission was the last mission to land on the moon, taking 86 hours and 14 minutes. The USSR's Luna-2 craft took just 34 hours to reach the moon in 1959.

Riaz Haq said...

Top Chinese Scientist Questions India’s Claim to Reaching Moon’s South Pole | Time

Ouyang Ziyuan, lauded as the father of China’s lunar exploration program, told the Chinese-language Science Times newspaper that the Chandrayaan-3 landing site, at 69 degrees south latitude, was nowhere close to the pole, defined as between 88.5 and 90 degrees.

On Earth, 69 degrees south would be within the Antarctic Circle, but the lunar version of the circle is much closer to the pole.

“It’s wrong!” he said of claims for an Indian polar landing. “The landing site of Chandrayaan-3 is not at the lunar south pole, not in the lunar south pole region, nor is it near the lunar south pole region.”

The Chandrayaan-3 was 619 kilometers (385 miles) distant from the polar region, Ouyang said.

India’s space agency didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

After the Chandrayaan-3 landing, the Communist Party’s Global Times quoted Pang Zhihao, a Beijing-based senior space expert, as saying that China had much better technology.

China’s space program “has been capable of sending orbiters and landers directly into Earth-Moon transfer orbit since the launch of Chang’e-2 in 2010, a maneuver that India has yet to deliver given the limited capacity of its launch vehicles,” the newspaper said. “The engine that China used is also far more advanced.”

Still, the Chandrayaan-3 went much farther south than any other spacecraft. Russia’s attempt to land a spacecraft near the lunar south pole ended in failure last month when it crashed into the moon.

China’s Chang’e 4, the first to land on the far side of the moon in 2019, touched down 45 degrees south. An uncrewed NASA probe, Surveyor 7, reached the moon at about 41 degrees south in 1968.

Getting close to the lunar south pole is important not just for bragging rights. Scientists think the region may have ice reserves that could potentially be valuable for long-term stays.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

Thanks for the post about Chinese scientist who actually doesn’t agree that ISRO succeeded in this mission of moon landing . Sir don’t you think Chinese who already have problem with Indians will always or mostly deny the achievements of Indians ?

Did Chinese Scientist present any solid proofs to show that satelite launched by ISRO has not actually landed precisely on the South Pole of moon ? Can you say that his arguments or claims are based on hypothesis ?


Riaz Haq said...

Ahmed: "Did Chinese Scientist present any solid proofs to show that satelite launched by ISRO has not actually landed precisely on the South Pole of moon ? Can you say that his arguments or claims are based on hypothesis ?"

The Chinese scientist is basing it on ISRO's own information that Chandrayaan 3 landed at 69 degrees south latitude.

On earth, 69 degrees south latitude falls inside the south polar circle but not so on the moon which is much smaller.

By the way, 69 degrees south also lies well outside of NASA's definition of lunar south polar circle.

Reaching close to the lunar south pole is important not just for bragging rights. Scientists think the region may have ice reserves that could potentially be valuable for long-term stays.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

I hope you are doing well , Sir I have latest and good news for you . Pls check this :

Namira Salim, the first Pakistani to travel to space, has returned safely from her journey on Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity. She celebrated her historic achievement as the "FIRST Pakistani Astronaut" and the "First Female Virgin Galactic Founder Astronaut." Before her voyage, she expressed pride in raising the national flag in space and embarked on the Galactic 04 mission alongside three other space travelers. Virgin Galactic delayed the mission briefly for vehicle preparations, allowing three paying customers to experience suborbital space travel, witnessing minutes of weightlessness and the Earth's curvature against the backdrop of space.

VMS Eve, the carrier plane for VSS Unity, was piloted by Jameel Janjua, a Canadian of Pakistani origin with extensive flying experience. Namira Salim was among the first 100 people to purchase a ticket with Virgin Galactic in 2006, and her ticket cost has since risen to $450,000. Besides her space journey, Salim is the founder of the nonprofit Space Trust and has previously visited both the North and South Poles, making her a pioneer in space exploration and global travel.

Sir can you pls make a blog about this latest and good news about a Pakistani female who just travelled in space and also can you pls kindly explain about this travel company which was founded by a Canadian Pakistani which this Pakistani female used to travel to space ?


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s ‘historic’ lunar mission to be launched on Friday aboard China lunar probe

The Institute of Space Technology on Tuesday said Pakistan’s “historic” lunar mission iCube-Q will be launched on May 3 at 12:50pm on board China’s Chang’e 6 lunar probe from Hainan, China.

According to the Institute of Space Technology (IST), the satellite ICUBE-Q has been designed and developed by IST in collaboration with China’s Shanghai University SJTU and Pakistan’s national space agency Suparco.

ICUBE-Q orbiter carries two optical cameras to image the lunar surface.

Following successful qualification and testing, iCube-Q has now been integrated with the Chang’e 6 mission.

Chang’e 6 is the sixth in a series of China’s lunar exploration missions.

The launch activity will be telecast live on the IST website and IST social media platforms.

China’s lunar mission will touch down on the moon’s far side to collect samples from the surface and return to Earth for research.

The mission holds significance for Pakistan as it will also take a CubeSat Satellite iCube-Q, developed by IST.

CubeSats are miniature satellites typically characterised by their small size and standardised design.

They are constructed in a cubic shape, consisting of modular components that adhere to specific size constraints.

These satellites often weigh no more than a few kilogrammes and were deployed in space for various purposes.

The primary purpose of CubeSats was to facilitate scientific research, technology development, and educational initiatives in space exploration.

These satellites were utilised for a wide range of missions, including Earth observations, remote sensing, atmospheric research, communications, astronomy and technology demonstration.

Due to their compact size and relatively low cost compared to traditional satellites, CubeSats offered opportunities for universities, research institutions and commercial entities to participate in space missions and gather valuable data for scientific advancement and innovation.

They serve as platforms for testing new technologies and concepts, enabling access to space for a broader range of users and promoting collaboration within the space community.

Last year in August, India became the first nation to land a craft near the Moon’s south pole, a historic triumph for its ambitious, cut-price space programme.