Launch of satellites for Pakistan shows close Pak-China relations: Researcher

BEIJING, July 10 (INP): The launch of satellites for Pakistan showed close ties between China and Pakistan, and highlights Chinese contribution to the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt and Road initiative, Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences said on Tuesday.

China launched two satellites for Pakistan on a Long March-2C rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China’s Gansu Province yesterday.

“China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners. It is China’s responsibility to help Pakistan in its development, especially in terms of the space industry, where it needs help,” he told Global Times.

The PRSS-1, which has a design life of seven years, will be used for land and resources surveying, monitoring of natural disasters, agriculture research, urban construction and providing remote sensing information for the Belt and Road region.

The satellite is equipped with two cameras, which designers say can be used to monitor plant diseases and pests. The satellite has an information security design, and the data can be encrypted. When the satellite flies over Pakistan, it can send back real-time images.

“Pakistan is in a special geographical location with a lot of mountainous areas. It also has a high population density,” said Hu. “It is difficult to conduct surveying and research on the ground. The best way to do it is via satellites,” he stressed.

Developed by the China Academy of Space Technology based on China’s CAST 2000 satellite module, the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite 1 is expected to work in a sun-synchronous orbit for at least seven years.

The PakTES-1A was developed by Pakistan. Fitted with sensors and cameras, the 285-kilogram satellite will mainly be tasked with helping geographical and atmospheric research.

The launch was the result of a contract signed in April 2016 between the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission and China Great Wall Industry Corp, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp that specializes in international space cooperation.

In addition to the satellite, China Great Wall will transfer ground applications and ground control systems to Pakistan and will provide in-orbit testing, personnel training and technical support.

This was the second time China has built and launched a satellite for Pakistan, one of its strategic partners, following the PAKSAT-1R, a communications satellite that was lifted atop a Chinese rocket in August 2011, according to the Chinese aerospace corporation.

The company said the PAKSAT-1R has been working well and has provided social and economic benefits for Pakistan.