Beijing, Aug 12 : China today launched a communications satellite PAKSAT-1R for its close ally Pakistan.
It was launched in the early hours today from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
The satellite was carried by a Long March-3B carrier rocket, Chinese official agency Xinhua reported.
PAKSAT-1R will provide a range of services including broadband Internet, telecom and broadcasting, covering some regions of Europe, South Asia, the Middle East, and the eastern Africa, besides a host of defence applications.
The satellite will replace Paksat-1. The life span of the satellite was stated to be 15 years.
The control room of the Centre said the launch was successful. The satellite was separated from its carrier rocket and entered geostationary 26 minutes after being launched.
The Paksat-1R satellite is designed and manufactured by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), Pakistan's official APP news agency reported.
A select group of senior Pakistani officials witnessed the launch.
The satellite carries communication payload to facilitate the introduction of a range of new services, including broadband Internet, digital television broadcasting, remote and rural telephony, emergency communications, tele-education and tele-medicine.
The satellite will be operated from SUPARCO Satellite Ground Stations located in Lahore and Karachi.
The satellite has 30 transponders onboard, including 12 C band and 18 Ku band transponders. To meet the coverage requirements, Paksat-1R has advance communication antennas, covering South Asian Sub-continent, the Middle East, east Africa and part of Western European areas and cities.
It is China's first in-orbit delivery to Asian customers and also the first commercial satellite export to international users this year, Xinhua reported.
The contract for the PAKSAT-1R was signed in 2008 between China Great Wall Industry Corporation and the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission of Pakistan.
China and Pakistan share a long history of space technology cooperation. Pakistan's first low-orbit satellite, BADR-A, was launched by China in 1990 with Long March 2E rocket, it said.
Thanking China for the help, Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said, “the successful launch is yet another shining illustration of the time-tested friendship between Pakistan and China and has ushered in a new era of cooperation in space technology between the two countries”.
“This also marks the next step in taking forward Pakistan's space Programme “2040”, Bashir said.
The launch of PakSat-1R has added a new chapter to the mutual cooperation between the all-weather allies in the field of space technology.
Pakistan's Ambassador to China Masood Khan said PakSat-1R's launch as important for his country for many reasons.
“It is a symbol of Pakistan-China cooperation in the area of space technology. It is the first of the kind to be launched by China and Pakistan. Therefore it establishes a new platform, and marks a new beginning”, he said.
Khan said it is our natural aspiration that a Pakistani astronaut aboard a Chinese spacecraft flies to the space, adding that “this is possible because Pakistan and China enjoy relations of trust and confidence”.
Chairman SUPARCO Ahmed Bilal termed the launch as a “historic event” as it is for the first time that a commercial, fully capable communication satellite has been launched in which scientists and engineers of SUPARCO have worked very closely with the Chinese in all stages of its design and development.
They have also gained firsthand experience of designing and manufacturing of Satellite, he said. PTI