Pakistan launches communication satellite PakSAT-MM1 to boost connectivity

Pakistan launched its second communication satellite PakSAT-MM1 on May 30 from China’s Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, marking a pivotal moment in bolstering the country’s internet and communication infrastructure.

The Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) announced the launch of the multi-mission communication satellite.

This development came weeks after Pakistan’s historic first satellite launch. ICUBE-Qamar (ICUBE-Q) was launched into space on May 3 aboard China’s Chang’e-6 lunar mission from Hainan. The satellite successfully entered the moon’s orbit on May 8, and shortly after began transmitting the first images to Earth.

Objectives of PakSAT-MM1

The geostationary satellite is based on advanced communication technologies that will enhance the satellite-based communication services of Pakistan and fulfill the needs of commercial as well as government users.

“High Throughput System (HTS) technology onboard PakSat-MM1 will substantially boost connectivity to the last mile and will reshape the future of satellite communication in Pakistan. This will be the key to connecting the unconnected with the rest of the country,” Suparco said. “PakSat-MM1 will ensure affordable bandwidth with higher reach within the country” facilitating the growth of sectors such as e-commerce, telemedicine, and e-governance among others, SUPARCO statement added.

According to a statement issued by the state-run broadcaster Pakistan Television, PakSAT-MM1 is set to “provide the best internet facilities across Pakistan.” It is further expected to enhance television broadcasts, cellular phone connectivity, and broadband services.
The satellite’s capabilities are particularly critical for delivering high-speed broadband internet services via satellite, thereby improving connectivity in the most remote and underserved regions of Pakistan.

The positioning of PakSAT-MM1 in a geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above Earth is seen as an impressive feat, showcasing Pakistan’s scientific and technological prowess.
The satellite will begin providing service in August, aiming to significantly improve the digital landscape of Pakistan.

Pakistan-China joint collaboration

PakSat-MM1 has been jointly designed and developed by SUPARCO and the China Great Wall Industry Corporation.

The satellite is “a testament to the longstanding friendship between Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China,” according to an official statement.

‘Proud moment for Pakistan’

Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Mini­ster Ahsan Iqbal witnessed the launch and could be seen capturing the liftoff with his mobile phone. “The satellite will provide Pakistan with much-needed enhanced connectivity — another important milestone in Pakistan’s space program,” Iqbal said.

SUPARCO Chairman Mohammad Yousaf Khan praised the efforts of engineers from both countries for the successful completion of the project.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office also released a statement underscoring the significance of the advanced geostationary satellite. The Foreign Office highlighted that PakSAT-MM1 is poised to provide a robust, independent national communication platform, which is essential for the realization of the “Digital Pakistan” initiative.

Prime Minister congratulates nation

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also congratulated the nation on the successful launch of the satellite. He emphasized the transformative potential of PakSAT-MM1 on internet connectivity across Pakistan.

“I am particularly excited about the potential impact of PakSAT-MM1 on internet connectivity across Pakistan. With its state-of-the-art communication technology, this satellite promises to revolutionize our digital landscape and provide the fastest internet facility throughout the country,” said the prime minister. He highlighted that this achievement represented a significant advancement in Pakistan’s space and communication capabilities.

The prime minister commended SUPARCO and all involved in the mission, attributing the success to the collective efforts and determination that drive Pakistan’s progress. “May the launch of PakSAT-MM1 be the harbinger of even greater successes in our quest for excellence in space and communication technology,” prayed the prime minister.

He also remarked on the strong partnership between Pakistan and China, noting that the launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre is a testament to the collaborative efforts of the two nations. “It is through such cooperative endeavors that we can propel our nation forward and harness the power of technology for the benefit of our people,” he stated.
Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who attended the launch, expressed optimism for the future of Pakistan’s space endeavors. “The day is not far when we will launch our satellites on our own rockets from Pakistan’s Space Launch Centre. Congratulations Pakistan,” he said.

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