An artistic concept of Paksat 1R, the telecommunication satellite of Pakistan. – Illustration by Muhammad Aamir Patni (File Photo)

BEIJING: Pakistan and China would jointly launch a communication satellite on August 14 to replace the SAT-1 which is on the verge of expiry, officials said.

The satellite would be sent into the orbit on the Independence Day of Pakistan as a mark of the Sino-Pak friendship, an official said after Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani's visit to China's Academy of Space Technology (CAST) here on Friday.

The prime minister went around several sections of the academy and observed the activities and research being carried out there.

He was briefed about the space workshop and vacuum chamber of the academy where Pakistan's satellite PAKSAT-1R is being manufactured.

An agreement for manufacturing of the satellite by CAST was signed in 2008 during President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to China.

EXIM Bank of China has provided a soft-term credit of 86.5 million RMB (Chinese currency) for the manufacturing of PAKSAT-1R, carrying a maturity period of 20 years.

Pakistan had launched its first satellite Badar with the Chinese cooperation in 1990. The communication satellite will have 30 years' transponders – 12 in C-Band and 18 in Ku-Band – each of 36 MHz bandwidth. The programme is in line with Pakistan's Medium Term Development Framework objectives and may provide better satellite communications for Pakistan.

The Pakistan Space and Upper Atmospheric Research Commission and China Great Wall Industry Corporation are jointly developing the new satellite.

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