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ISLAMABAD: The government has notified ‘National Space Activities Rules 2024’, applicable to space activities carried out within the territory of Pakistan, outside the territory if they are carried out on ships, vessels or other airborne vehicles registered in the country and every person carrying out space activities and providing Space-based Services in Pakistan.

According to a notification of National Command Authority, these rules shall not apply to terrestrial radio communication services and broadcasting services as defined in Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-Organisation) Act-1996 and PEMRA Ordinance 2023 respectively.

As per the rules, National Space Agency, SUPARCO, shall act as the “National Space Agency of Pakistan. The Agency shall be competent to enter into any agreements with foreign Satellite Operator(s) for the acquisition, distribution and sale of foreign Satellite data in Pakistan.

Final touches being given to ‘space’ policy

There shall be a board constituted under these rules to be called the Pakistan Space Activities Regulatory Board (PSARB). The National Space Agency shall be the secretariat of the PSARB.

Online sale of Satellite Imagery and/ or data, by foreign agencies or service providers, related to the territory of Pakistan will be regulated by PSARB through the relevant agencies. Any operators seeking to provide Remote Sensing Satellite services in Pakistan while working outside Pakistan shall: (i) Obtain Authorisation from PSARB to commence satellite remote sensing activities in the juridical land of Pakistan; (ii) Establish the point of presence, registered office, and customer care in Pakistan; and (iii) Submit proof demonstrating that National Satellites have similar access to the market of the country as the Satellite Operator or the orbital slot being used by the Satellite Operator.

The National Space Agency of Pakistan shall carry out all activities under these rules in Pakistan and all such functions necessary to implement the purpose of these rules which include, without being limited to the following: (i) Carrying out applied research and development in space science, planetary exploration, and allied fields, enhancing indigenous capabilities in space technology and promoting the application of space sciences and technology for the socioeconomic development and national security of the country; (ii) Defining and developing policy guidelines, legislations, strategies, and programs covering the entire spectrum of peaceful uses of Outer Space and Upper Atmosphere in the country, to fulfil national and international obligations; (iii) Designing and developing all kinds of Satellites with all associated infrastructure including, but not limited to, Earth Observation Satellites, Communication Satellites, Navigation Satellites (Ground-Based and Satellite based Augmentation), Weather Satellites; etc., for planetary exploration and meeting national demands towards Satellite; mapping/ monitoring of natural resources, Satellite communications, Satellite television broadcasting, Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) services on local, regional and global basis; (iv) Designing and developing all Space transportation systems, Space launch facilities, and sounding rockets along with associated telemetry systems, tracking and control stations; (v) Launching and operating Satellite Launch Vehicles including sub-orbital launches; (vi) Designing, developing, building, operating and maintaining the National Space Situational Awareness capability, including but not limited to, astronomical observatories and space weather monitoring facilities to monitor, assess and minimize threats that could disrupt, degrade or damage Space Objects as well as related activities; (vii) Conducting and coordinating operations for manned and unmanned access to Outer Space for scientific research, development and commercial purposes; (viii) Acquiring, archiving, processing, interpreting and disseminating all types of Satellite Imagery from national and foreign Remote Sensing Satellites and developing solutions for space applications in all domains of socioeconomic development and national security of the country.

PSARB shall consist of a Chairman and members as under: (i) Chairman, to be nominated by National Command Authority (NCA); (ii) Member, National Space Agency; (iii) Director General Technical, National Space Agency; (iv) Direct General Satellite Control and Operations, National Space Agency; (v) Director Space Program, NCA; (vi) Secretary Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunications (MoIT&T) or his nominee; (vii) Secretary Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MoIB) or his nominee; (viii) Co-opted Member from ISI not below the rank of Director; and (ix) Any other co-opted member (non-voting) for consultation purposes only as and when required by the Chairman of PSARB; No domestic/ foreign public or private organisations or firms, or individuals shall own a Space Object, related ground infrastructure and/ or undertake space activities or establish or use or possess related facilities or utilities within the national territory and national sea boundary unless authorised by and registered with PSARB.

All Government departments, organisations or agencies (Federal, Provincial or semi-autonomous body), private firms or individuals or groups including NGOs (both national or international), intending to commence or conduct Space Activities through any source, in any form, and using any technology or tool, shall inform the PSARB.

Space activities that are deemed sensitive to national security by PSARB shall only be executed by the National Space Agency.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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