Pakistan is launching a remote sensing satellite PakTES-1A in July this year, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said in a post on social media on Sunday.
PakTES-1A is an indigenously developed satellite by the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), weighing 285 kilograms. It will be launched at a 610 kilometer sun-synchronous orbit.
Remote sensing satellites can be used to detect and monitor physical characteristics of an area. Their applications include mapping the ocean floor, tracking Earth surface for mineral deposits, monitoring the growth of a city or changes in farmland and forests over time, studying the impact of climate change on glaciers, detecting forest fires, and even solving problems related to agriculture.
Earlier in 2016, China and Pakistan had signed an agreement to launch a special remote sensing satellite. The main reason for signing the agreement was to monitor the development of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. This year, Beijing announced it would launch two more remote sensing satellites for Pakistan. The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALVT) and SUPARCO are jointly working on the project that will equip Pakistan with satellite technology for geo-monitoring operations.
Work on all three satellites is in design phase and is being carried out jointly by the SUPARCO and different universities throughout China.
Pakistan also plans to establish an indigenous facility for development of satellites in accordance with international space standards. It has allocated funds for the purpose in the Annual Development Plan for 2018-19. The facility, to be called Pakistan Space Center, will have the capability to carry out manufacturing, testing, system-level assembly, integration, launch, and operations of various types of satellites. Funds have also been set aside for development of the Pakistan Navigation Satellite System (PakNav).