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‘Country’s first optical remote sensing satellite launching next year’

October 05, 2017

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SUPARCO’S Mobile Space Education Bus.—White Star
SUPARCO’S Mobile Space Education Bus.—White Star

KARACHI: Pakistan’s first optical remote sensing satellite PRSS-1 is set to be launched in 2018 with which the country will become self-reliant in multi-spectral imaging, announced a senior official of the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) while addressing the inaugural ceremony of World Space Week (WSW) celebrations at the National Centre for Remote Sensing and Geo Informatics, Suparco headquarters, on Wednesday morning.

The celebrations commenced here simultaneously with 15 other cities of Pakistan and 86 countries of the world.

Addressing the ceremony, Member Range and Instrumentation Ayaz Aziz, the chief guest on the occasion, said: “Our first optical remote sensing satellite PRSS-1 is set to be launched in 2018 with which Pakistan will become self-reliant in multi-spectral imaging thus saving huge foreign exchange on account of satellite imagery and satellite-based monitoring of various national projects.

“Our communication satellite PAKSAT-1R is up and running with efficient provision of communication and broadcast services throughout the country and neighbouring regions.”

He added that Suparco was proud to be associated with WSW since 2005 as the national coordinator of World Space Week Association in Pakistan. “It is our privilege to be among 86 countries throughout the world that celebrate and contribute to the promotion of space science and technology every year,” he said.

About Suparco’s contributions, he said that they were involved in natural resource management and environment modelling through glacier monitoring, land cover classification of Pakistan, land information systems, national environment information management systems, etc. “The agriculture sector is being served through an active crop estimation programme. Risk and disaster assessment, mitigation and management projects are also under way,” he said.

The highlight at the inaugural day was Suparco’s Mobile Space Education Bus equipped with multimedia, which is used to reach out to students especially in Pakistan’s rural areas to help them develop knowledge about space science.

Zain Rahim, manager, Astronomy and Astrophysics Division of Suparco, said that wherever they went in the bus, they were met with bright and inquisitive minds. “The students are very enthusiastic. They ask intelligent questions and by answering their questions we motivate them towards studying science,” he said.

Sharing more about features of the bus, Abdus Salam, assistant manager, Astronomy and Astrophysics Division of Suparco, said that the bus had a capacity of 40 children at a time who attend a 20 to 25 minutes educational session.

“We have also visited the IBA Sukkur community colleges in Jacobabad, Dadu and Naushahro Feroze,” he said.

“We usually carry a telescope with us in the bus for solar observations in the daytime and planetary and galactic observations in the night,” he added.

The celebrations will continue till Oct 10 and will include Space in Quran qirat competition and quiz competition for school students, space fair and exhibition, sky observation, glider competition, micro gravity experiments, university project competition, model-making competition, water rocket competition, display of satellite models, space applications, poster presentation, kids arena, space movie theatre, online space-related puzzle games, robotic manipulator, a declamation and space vocabulary contest, sky simulation shows, lectures and demonstration of global navigation satellite system and disaster management through unmanned aerial systems.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2017