Islamabad: Following the launch of its communications satellite on a Chinese rocket, Pakistan now plans to put a remote sensing satellite into space later this year as part of efforts to create a sophisticated surveillance system by 2014.
The Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission has drawn up certain plans for creating the Remote Sensing Satellite System (RSSS) in the next three years to meet "national and international user requirements in the field of satellite imagery", said SUPARCO Secretary Arshad H Siraj.
RSSS will be a "progressive and sustainable programme", he said. Initially, SUPARCO will launch an optical satellite with a 2.5 metre panchromatic camera (PAN) into a 700-km
sun-synchronous orbit by the end of 2011.
This will be followed by a series of optical and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites in future. The proposed system will be helpful in exploiting the potential of space technologies for surveying natural resources and monitoring the environment, he added.
RSSS will also be "significant in executing application projects of national significance (and) transfer technology to users in public and private sectors as remote sensing along with its allied technologies has become an industry in itself", he said.
The RSSS shall be helpful in improving agriculture, management of water resources, monitoring the environment and other related issues, Siraj added.
Pakistan`s PakSat-1R geostationary communications satellite was recently launched into space by a Chinese rocket on August 11.
The satellite carries a communication payload to facilitate the launch of several new services, including broadband Internet, digital television broadcasts, remote and
rural telephony, emergency communications and tele-medicine.
The country entered the space age with the launch of their second-hand PakSat-1 in January 2003.
"Since then, our scientists and engineers have been making endeavours to launch indigenous satellites and ensure the country`s permanent presence in space," Siraj said.