August 14 2011. As Pakistani celebrates its independence day, people in that country will be eagerly awaiting news from China? Why? On that day if all goes well China will launch a communication satellite for Pakistan designated as Paksat-Ir.
The satellite, weighing about 1050 kgs at launch, will be flown by a Chinese rocket called CZ-3B otherwide known as Long March 3B, a three-stage rocket stated to be the most powerful member of the Long March rocket family and the heaviest of the Long March 3 rocket group which is mainly used to fly communication satellites. The launch centre for Paksat-Ir is Xichang Satellite Launch Centre.
The operator for this satellite is Pakistan's Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, a state-owned body. It will replace Paksat-1 and its main payload is the very high resolution radiometer to study radiation.
Although it appears that the main satellite is being designed and developed in China, Suparco scientists successfully developed a prototype primarily to enhance the know-how of scientists and engineers about communication satellites engineering.
The Pak-Sino space tie up began in 2006 when China committed to work with Pakistan to launch three earth resource satellites over the next five years. In May 2007, China agreed as a strategic partner and signed an accord with Pakistan to enhance co-operation in the areas of space science and technology.
In one of the earlier blogs, ``Beyond Moon and Mars'' had stated that this colloboration will further strengthen in the days ahead perhaps even leading to a mission to the moon or Mars. Maybe at a later stage there could even be a joint manned mission to the moon.
What is the message? India should take note of these developments and fully support the human space flight programme.
Unfortunately this is not happening at the moment.