ISLAMABAD: Pakis­tan’s inaugural lunar satellite, ICUBE-Q, has achieved a significant milestone by successfully entering the moon’s orbit on Wednesday afternoon, as confirmed by Institute of Space Technology.

ICUBE-Qamar was successfully deployed in lunar orbit on May 8, at 1:14pm.

According to the Institute of Space Technology, the pivotal development highlights its importance in potentially unlocking larger-scale space missions for Pakistan in the future.

“Satellite after deployment is performing as per design specifications. All sub-systems’ health data is excellent. The imaging payload is fully functional,” IST said, adding, “The next two days will be spent conducting thorough in-orbit testing. Images will be shared after in-orbit testing.”

Last Friday, Pakistan became the sixth country to launch its first-ever moon satellite.

Riding on the Chinese rocket Chang’e 6 lunar probe, the ICUBE-Q satellite marked a historic collaboration between Pakistan and China in lunar exploration. The Chinese mission aimed to land on the moon’s far side, perpetually hidden from Earth, and subsequently collect and return samples.

The Chinese embassy expressed its enthusiasm for the milestone, highlighting that this marked the first-ever China-Pakistan cooperation on lunar exploration.

According to Dr Khurram Khursheed, head of the department of electrical and computer science at the institute, the satellite would play a critical role in deep space missions.

Operating in extreme temperatures as low as minus 100 degrees Celsius, the satellite features a 7kg one-megapixel camera tailored for missions with power constraints. “Its surface-level analysis capabilities, transmitting images at a modest 1-kbps, will provide crucial data on crater locations, water, and traces of ice on the moon’s surface. These findings, obtained through various techniques, hold promise for global utilisation,” he said.

As the Chinese lander collects rock and soil samples, ICUBE-Q will spend three to six months orbiting the moon, capturing and transmitting images of the moon back to Earth. By May 15, according to the institute, Pakistan anticipates sharing images captured by the satellite.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2024

Opinion

On writing

On writing

There is no ceremony or ritual that marks any person as a writer except the simple yet unimaginably significant act of starting to write.

Editorial

A way forward
Updated 17 Jul, 2024

A way forward

Before political leaders inflict more damage, they must give talks a chance.
Export delusions
Updated 18 Jul, 2024

Export delusions

Plummeting exports as a ratio of GDP is one of the major reasons driving the current economic slowdown and the balance-of-payments crisis.
Diversity in UK politics
17 Jul, 2024

Diversity in UK politics

THE recent UK elections have ushered in the most diverse parliament in the nation’s history. Under the leadership...
Banning PTI
Updated 16 Jul, 2024

Banning PTI

It appears that the govt and its backers within the establishment have still not realised that they are in uncharted territory.
Nato at 75
16 Jul, 2024

Nato at 75

EMERGING from the ashes of World War II, and locked in confrontation with the Soviet-led Communist bloc for over ...
Non-stop massacres
16 Jul, 2024

Non-stop massacres

Netanyahu is cunningly pretending to talk peace while mercilessly pounding Gaza. What is clear is that a return to pre-Oct 7 status quo is impossible.