ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s efforts in space sciences have not been impressive and in spite of the fact that SUPARCO was established as early as 1961, only two indigenous satellites BADAR – 1 and BADAR -2 have been launched.
In 2011, this satellite was replaced by PAKSAT1R.Earlier Pakistan had one leased satellite in geostationary orbit to meet its telecommunication requirements.
Currently, there are about 3000 satellites of various types orbiting the earth, belonging to different space-faring nations, the most dominant of which is the United States of America.
The use of outer space has enormously increased since the launch of world’s first artificial satellite, sputnik in 1957.
An amount of Rs 700 million has been earmarked for Pakistan Space and Upper Research Commission (SUPARCO) for FY 2013-14.
Some of the most critical communication systems such as GPS, air traffic control, internet and banking , all depend on the use of satellites, Chairperson Pakistan Council of Science and Technology (PCST) Dr Mudasar Asrar told APP.
The classical use of imagery from outer space has been a source of intelligence as well as environmental assessment.
Chairperson said the natural resources management and environment monitoring can be done most effectively, using remote sensing data on the agricultural land use,hydrology and mineralogy.
“Satellite-aided search and rescue operations on land, sea and air are now a common occurrence”.
Similarly, the monitoring of climate changes with meteorological satellites can help prevent losses due to natural disasters, she added.
Important applications in disease control and health services can be delivered through space based satellites.
Chairperson PCST said Pakistan has to enhance its space technology signifi cantly in order to preserve its security, and to meet environmental,communications and commercial requirements.
The establishment of an Institute of Space Technology (IST) in 2002 was a major step forward, she said, adding the funding of both SUPARCO and IST must be enhanced to preserve critical national interests in upper space.
Dr. Mudasar said “In recognition of the crucial role that space technology can play in the defense, agriculture, communications, and disaster relief,there is need to launching
coordinated effort by all relevant Research and Development and higher education institutions to develop indigenous satellites and expertise, pertaining to space technology.
Setting-up institutional linkages of Ministry of Science and Technology with SUPARCO and IST is a must to give boost to Pakistan’s space programme, she added.