Beijing: In a significant development for Pakistan, twin satellites meant to keep an eye on India were launched into space by its all-time ally China today. Chinese rocket Long March-2C (LM-2C) launched Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite -1 or PRSS-1 and PakTES-1A satellites from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China this morning. While India is way ahead of Pakistan in space technology, today’s development opens a door for Pakistan to catch up.
The launch of the satellites marks yet another space cooperation between China and Pakistan since the launch of PAKSAT-1R, a communication satellite, in August 2011. Of the two satellites, the PakTES-1A was developed by Pakistan, whereas the PRSS-1 was made by China. The PRSS-1 is China’s first optical remote sensing satellite sold to Pakistan. It is the 17th satellite developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) for an overseas buyer.
Today’s launch is the 279th mission of the Long March rocket series. Long March-2C rockets are mainly used to send satellites into low Earth or Sun-synchronous orbits.
It is also the first international commercial launch for a Long March-2C rocket within nearly two decades after it carried Motorola’s Iridium satellites into orbit in 1999.
The PRSS-1 satellite will be used for land and resources surveying, monitoring of natural disasters, agriculture research, urban construction and to provide remote sensing information for China’s “Belt and Road” mega-project. These satellites will also help Pakistan to keep a track of India.
The satellites are also expected to play a positive role in the development of Pakistan’s economy.
However, in comparison India has 43 operational satellites in space. India also has the radar imaging satellites with all-weather surveillance capability. India used images gathered from its satellites for the surgical strikes it carried out in 2016.