masood-khanBEIJING: Pakistan's Ambassador to China, Masood Khan has said that it is our natural aspiration that a Pakistani astronaut aboard a Chinese spacecraft flies to space.

“This is possible because Pakistan and China enjoy relations of trust and confidence," Ambassador Khan said in an interview to mark launch of Paksat-1R.

The Pakistan Communication Satellite Paksat-1R is due to be launched in space from Chinese satellite launching site located at Xichang city in the second week of August, depending on weather conditions.

Paksat-1R will replace Paksat-1 which is going to complete its useful life in 2011. “Launching of a communication satellite is going to be a new symbolic development in Pakistan-China relations, as this will broaden the horizons of our cooperation," Khan said.

He said during Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Pakistan in December last year, our two governments had decided to deepen cooperation in space science and technology. “Paksat-1R, as the satellite is called, is a big step in that direction.

It will revolutionize the use of broadband Internet, digital television broadcasting and mobile telephony; spur our economy; and strengthen the education and health sectors.

It will also help us with disaster preparedness and response. Besides, young scientists and engineers are gaining new valuable expertise in the area of satellite technology.

Such cooperation with China also helps us move towards self-reliance" he noted. Tracing the history of cooperation between the two countries in the realm of space science, Ambassador Masood Khan said that it goes back to the 1990s when Pakistan launched its first low earth orbit satellite Badr-1. “Since then we have been enhancing our cooperation in space science and technology.

Many Pakistani scientists and engineers have studied aerospace sciences in Chinese universities and institutions," he added. He mentioned that: “We are now looking at cooperation in remote sensing satellites. It is a long term project with many civilian uses.

A remote sensing satellite will cover areas like agriculture, oceanography, disaster management and mitigation, crop monitoring, earth observation, water resources management, weather forecasting, and urban planning.

Such an application will have a direct positive impact on Pakistan's socio-economic development." China, Ambassador Khan said, has helped us in the development of our satellite industry for which we are extremely grateful.

Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) is establishing the necessary space technology infrastructure, he said, adding thus we are developing common technology platforms with China.

In due course of time Pakistan will want to develop its spaceflight programme, he added. Ambassador Khan said that during his visits to the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) he observed that professionals there are hardworking, intelligent, ingenious and resourceful.

“They are the proud asset of modern China. Moreover, they are fortunate to have visionary leadership. Moreover, the leaders and the professionals in these organizations are keen to extend full cooperation to Pakistan," he noted.

He said they all are so positive, forthcoming and hospitable towards Pakistan. In this atmosphere, I am sure our cooperation will move from strength to strength.

 

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2011