Suparco to build new satellite
KARACHI – Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) will soon negotiate with foreign satellite manufacturer to build a new satellite for strategic purposes and to replace the ageing Paksat-I.
In this connection, Suparco will also acquire transfer of technology to build indigenous satellite from the same foreign manufacturer.
Suparco Chairman Major General Raza Hussain (Retd) told Business Recorder after the inaugural session of short training course on ‘Environment Pollution Monitoring’ here on Monday.
He said that the government had initiated a five-year ‘National Satellite Development Programme’ (NSDP) approved by the Prime Minister and the President of Pakistan.
Under the NSDP, the work has been started on communication and earth observation satellites which would roughly cost $200 million. Presently, the Commission has been working on feasibility studies which will be complete by January 2005, he said.
“As soon as the feasibility studies are completed, we are going to launch this project which will span over a period of five years,” he said, adding that “if feasible then in a period of five years we will replace existing satellite, named as Paksat-I, which is presently in geostationary orbit while few years of its life remain,” he said.
“We have named the new satellite Paksat-I-R (Replacement),” said Major General Hussain. He pointed out that this satellite was leased by Pakistan and would be replaced in the orbit by the new satellite so that Pakistan’s designated slot is not replaced by any other country.
He said the feasibility study would then be presented to the ‘Project Monitoring Committee’ to be headed by Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecom, for evaluation. After the evaluation the future course of action would be chalked out.
The federal government has also asked the commission to co-ordinate with relevant organisations for implementation of this NSDP.
The estimated cost of the NSDP project would roughly be about $200 million, but if the feasibility study allows a small satellite that may fulfil the required then this cost would be much reduced at $60 to $80 million, he said.
Hussain said that the first satellite would have to be a joint venture with any foreign satellite manufacturer.
He said, “We would be seeking the transfer of technology on terms and conditions which we require and need. We are not only seeking the technology; we want transfer of technology as well,” Raza Hussain said, adding that the focal point would be transfer of technology.”
The commission has undergone a massive revamping procedure to hiring highly skilled professionals during the last three years and its infrastructure has been changed and converted into a project and result oriented organisation.
Every possible measure has been taken to improve and boost the efficiency of commission, he added.
Source: Business Recorder