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ISLAMABAD, Aug 21: Pakistan plans to launch a self-controlled Remote Sensing Satellite System (RSSS) at a cost of Rs19.3 billion to ensure strategic and unconditional supply of satellite remote sensing data for any part of the globe over the year.

According to sources, the project will be executed by the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) over a period of six years. President Gen Pervez Musharraf has approved the project in principle.

The project will require another recurring expenditure of about Rs150 million per year and overall working expenses of about Rs1.15 billion.

The president, sources said, had directed Suparco to develop the capability to make and launch different types of satellites, specially, communications, remote sensing and weather satellites.

Pakistan’s space programme must contribute in the areas of mass education, information technology, communications, agriculture, mineral development, mapping and geographic information system, atmospheric sciences, environment and pollution monitoring and in various areas of national security, the president said.

On the completion of the project, high resolution satellite images will be available for national defence and security in any critical time. They will also enable universities and non-profit organisations to obtain satellite remote sensing data and carry out analysis for other application areas.

The project will help Pakistani engineers acquire comprehensive know-how and technology transfer. Thus, it will be a vital support for future in-house Pakistan remote sensing satellites of world standards to meet demands of enhanced capabilities.

This will help Pakistan coup with the commercial and strategic needs and open a new era of applied research and new trends for planning and implementation of public sector development projects for socio-economic uplift of the country.

Pakistan entered into space era in 1990 with the launch of its first experimental satellite Badr-1, an indigenous effort of Suparco, launched in low earth orbit by a Chinese vehicle from XI Chang Launch Centre.

Second satellite of Pakistan, Badr-2, launched in 2001, carried an experimental earth imaging payload.

The RSSS is highly sophisticated, application oriented, high resolution satellite that will be first of its kind in Pakistan to directly address the demands of today’s market.