Lagging behind: 2040 - Pakistan’s space od[d]yssey

Published: August 1, 2012

The country’s space research programme, Suparco, started off with great promise – but has little to show for it. DESIGN: MAHA HAIDER

The communication satellite Paksat-1R was launched on August 11,2011 from China. PHOTO: SUPARCO WEBSITE President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto meets the Apollo mission during their visit to Pakistan in 1973. PHOTO: US CONSULATE LAHORE WEBSITE The motorcade of the US Apollo mission en route to the University of Karachi in 1973, where they gave a speech. PHOTO: US CONSULATE LAHORE WEBSITE Press clippings of the Apollo mission's visit to Pakisan. PHOTO: US CONSULATE LAHORE WEBSITE The country’s space research programme, Suparco, started off with great promise – but has little to show for it. DESIGN: MAHA HAIDER
KARACHI: 

Fifty years ago, Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate Dr Abdus Salam conceived the idea of the country’s first space research programme and national space agency in 1961.

But today, the only achievement that Pakistan can boast of is the successful launch of its first fully functional communication satellite, the Paksat-1R, whose first anniversary comes this August.

This satellite, however, was not indigenously built. China was behind Paksat-1R’s design, built, launch and even funding; only a few components were built by our engineers.

India, on the other hand, has been able to launch around 60 satellites to date in spite of launching its space programme eight years after Pakistan. It has even managed to launch its own unmanned lunar probe, the Chandrayaan-1, into orbit in 2008.

So where did we go so wrong in our space programme?

One of the main differences between India and Pakistan’s space agencies is that while one is headed by scientists, the other is currently headed by retired army generals, and has been for the last 11 years.

The space agency of Pakistan too initially was headed by scientists and many prominent names had a significant role. The last civilian scientist to have headed the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) was Dr Abdul Majid, who planned the Paksat communication satellite system and satellite launch vehicle projects.

On his retirement in April 2001, Majid handed over charge to Major General (retd) Raza Hussain, whose tenure lasted till August, 2010.

Since then the Suparco fort is being held by Major General (retd) Ahmed Bilal.

On the other hand, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has throughout its history been manned by scientists. Between 2001 and now, India has managed to launch more than 30 satellites. Pakistan for the same period managed only two satellites, including the Paksat-1, which was an acquired dysfunctional satellite and the current full fledged communication satellite Paksat-1R launched by China in 2011.

Early years

It was on Dr Salam’s advice that a Space Sciences Research Wing of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) was established. Later, this wing became known as the Suparco in 1964.

To understand the significance of Salam’s forward thinking, who was then the scientific advisor to President Ayub, one has to take into account the fact that the world’s first satellite Sputnik-1 was launched just recently in 1957 by Russia and the US was yet to plant its first man on the moon.

Salam held a meeting with two PAEC scientists Dr Salim Mehmud and Tariq Mustafa, who were studying abroad in 1960 in Washington, and revealed that the Pakistan government had approved a classified mission to begin its own space research programme. He advised the two young scientists to join NASA to study rocket science.

NASA, during those years, was in a race to put an American on the moon. In this connection, they invited Pakistan along with other countries to participate in their project. NASA provided the two scientists with rocket components to take back home along with training and support on the condition that their findings would be shared.

It was in this connection that the Rahber series of rockets were launched from Sonmiani Rocket Range in June, 1962 that conducted experiments on the Earth’s atmosphere at a height of 130 kilometers. Later, the Shahper series was also launched that conducted experiments at a height of 150kms above the surface of earth.

Also, in the 60s, a Doppler radar tracking station was established in the country as part of a global network.

New facilities and labs were set up that received Spanish beacon satellites, and feeds from an application satellite that had been relocated in 1975 by Nasa over the Indian ocean for one year.

In 1973, American Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene A Cernan (Commander), Ronald E Evans (Command Module Pilot) and Harrison H Schmitt (Lunar Module Pilot) visited Karachi amid great fanfare. It was also during the 1970s that the Islamabad Ionospheric Station within Quaid-e-Azam University was set up and the NASA Landsat ground station was established near Rawat.

Everything, it seemed, was moving in the right direction.

Suparco under Zia

After General Ziaul Haq usurped power, he promulgated the Suparco Ordinance No. XX of 1981, which granted the body autonomous status.

During the same period, a communication satellite project called Paksat was initiated.

Also, a 10-meter diameter satellite ground station for interception of satellite transmissions was set up in 1983 that was mainly designed against India.

A leading scientist told The Express Tribune that back then, the idea was to launch a satellite that could stage a ‘cultural counter attack’ on India with the influx of new Pakistani TV channels.

But when Gen Zia visited the Suparco headquarters in 1984, he announced an abrupt end to the Paksat project citing a lack of funds. It was during this period that many scientists associated with Suparco left the organisation. Funds were frozen, and there was a complete lack of innovation.

Satellite mystery

Some scientists, however, refused to quit and carried on. It was during this period that two ground stations in Karachi and Lahore were set up in 1986 in preparation for the launch of Badr-1, which was an experimental low earth orbiting satellite.

It was eventually launched on 16 July 1990 from China using the Long March 2E launcher and completed its designed life for around 35 days.

The country’s second satellite Badr-B was then launched after much delay on 10 Dec 2001 from the Baikonour Cosmodrome, Kazakistan.

An insider within Suparco says that to this day no one knows what exactly happened to the satellite when contact was lost with it. The cause was never fully investigated.

Expired orbital slots

When Pakistan failed to launch its Paksat satellites, the two orbital slots 38 E longitude and 41 E longitude acquired for it in the Geo Synchronous Orbit expired in 1994.

A new application for the allocation of five GSo slots (38E, 41E, 30E, 88E and 101E) was filed. Although granted, Pakistan faced the risk of losing its priority 38 E slot, if it didn’t launch its own satellite by April 2003.

Paksat-I

In December 2002, Pakistan acquired a satellite from the American satellite-building firm Hughes Global Systems (HGS) at a cost of around five million dollars.

HGS had designed a satellite for Indonesia, but after a battery problem occurred making it useless during certain hours of the day, it was sold to Pakistan as Paksat-1.

Later, General Pervez Musharraf would claim that “Pakistan’s space programme is now ahead of India after the formal launching of Paksat-I and this is due to the hard work of our scientists.”

2040 vision

Suparco chairman Maj Gen (retd) Ahmed Bilal, in an interview with The Express Tribune, said that Pakistani scientists were ‘on a learning curve’ which was why they chose to ‘fast forward’ their expertise with the help of the Chinese for Paksat-1R.

He clarified that China had given a soft loan for Paksat-1R, whereas all the cost of the ground control facilities within Pakistan were borne by the government of Pakistan.

Bilal remained vague on Suparco’s history, saying, “Yes, mistakes were made in the past, but we have to move ahead.”

When asked about the Vision 2040 programme that was approved by the ousted prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in January 2012, he said: “we should be able to make, produce and launch our own satellite [in the future]. That is our hallmark [sic].”

He said the Paksat-1R has a life span of 15 years and his suggestion was to have another communication satellite in space by 2021.

“National demands will dictate the number of satellites the country needs,” he said.

He said that Pakistan should have at least three remote sensing satellites that should be launched every three years.

“We will be focusing on different types of remote sensing satellites and their applications in the next seven-eight years.”

But if Suparco’s vision for 2040 is limited to building and launching our own satellite, one wonders how far ahead the rest of the world will be in the space race by then.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (55)

  • S
    Aug 1, 2012 - 10:37AM

    This article is hilarious!

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  • Aug 1, 2012 - 11:03AM

    2040? Four years back We had gauranteed that a Pakistani will be on moon in next 5 years. You dont have much time left SUPARCO.

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  • Imran
    Aug 1, 2012 - 11:49AM

    Dr Salam was ahead of his time. Pakistan lost a great patriotic visionary due to religious bias.

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  • S Mansoor
    Aug 1, 2012 - 11:50AM

    Maybe, just maybe, we should make some more electricity first..I mean, just sayin’..:)

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  • Muhammad Ramzan
    Aug 1, 2012 - 11:56AM

    You’ve given the reason of this deteriorated state of affairs in SUPARCO by mentioning that it is headed by a army-men. For God sake, let yourself be guided by common sense. How a soldier can run such a sophisticated and highly technical institute. I think this is the main reason of our plight that we don’t have right person at right place, nowhere.

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  • Aug 1, 2012 - 12:04PM

    This is one field where pak should have competitive with india. it would have brought up the level of science in the indian subcontinent.
    if pak starts today it will take another few decades before it can catchup with india, let alone the rest of the western world.

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  • Apologizer
    Aug 1, 2012 - 12:13PM

    Don’t worry you can always get it from China and paint it in Green.

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  • an_insider
    Aug 1, 2012 - 12:19PM

    Yet another political motivated article on ET. In fact the article is an amalgamation of many encyclopedia articles on the web. The reason given by the author is quite hilarious, which lay the whole blame on an army general sitting at the top….lol. Even a sane person having an insight into the functionality of how this organisation works knows that the situation of SUPARCO is not due to the lack of vision or human resource but due to the lack of fund given by government. On the contrary to what has been mentioned in the article, since last 11 years SUPARCO has improved a lot in terms of infrastructure, human resource and revenue generation from its commercial and military services.

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  • Haider
    Aug 1, 2012 - 12:23PM

    if i ever come in power would bring a law that retired army generals would not be allowed to serve or head any organization!! period!.. i mean for God sake why dont they just spare Pakistan and focus on their own job.. lust for money and power!!!! whole supraco and Pakistan has been made parasite by this army!!!…

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  • ashvinn
    Aug 1, 2012 - 12:38PM

    if Pakistan can make ballastic missiles , which are cliamed to be product of Pak R&D, then most building blocks of the space vehicle are avialable, why 2040, they come up quickly with a PSLV quite quickly……..but then you guys are so lost fighting wars with every non-muslims…… it might take longer then 2040 to launch satellities

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  • Tosser
    Aug 1, 2012 - 12:55PM

    @Vishnu Dutta:
    You do realize that according to most experts, Pakistan has missiles that actually land on target… and more than one cruise missile that actually works…. unlike India.

    If India is ahead in commercial and civilian space sector, than Pakistan is far ahead in military sector considering that accuracy and variety of it’s missiles… which are solid fueled.

    The point is, Pakistan has the expertise to match India (and people better than India)… it’s just going in another direction.

    Once we get our priorities right, it can all be fixed. All it takes is the right person in the right place and funds funds and more funds. The expertise is already there.

    At the very least we can add another stage to the Ghauri and make it a SLV. That was the plan actually but it was stopped by Musharaf because he was afraid of annoying his American buddies.

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  • Shahzad
    Aug 1, 2012 - 1:44PM

    Why do we have to compare ourselves with India all the time. Ok, we came into being together some sixty odd years ago but India is still fifty years ahead of us. We should be now comparing ourselves with Bangladesh who was once part of our country (not very long ago). Even, Bangla is ahead of us whe it comes to technology and or economically. I think the only claim of fame left for our country is to make water kits for automobiles experimented by a Sindhi scientist from Khairpur Agha Waqar Khan. This chap should be encouraged to work on this rich technology through which not only we, as a nation will prosper but we could also sell it to the world. Anyways good article! Keep it up..!!

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  • Imran Con
    Aug 1, 2012 - 2:06PM

    @an_insider:
    Do tell me what part of military training involves rocket science and business structure.

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  • Junaid
    Aug 1, 2012 - 2:53PM

    @ Tosser….ROFL ROFL….yeah yeah why not…:D :D
    i wonder you guys dont feel ashamed when making such false statements…..
    or not get tired of showing off this false pride….its not the govt but you guys who provide your govt and military and all the religious leaders courage to use anti-india sentiments to make fool of you and loot your country…
    seriously, just look at 64-years of independence of India and Pakistan, face the truth and then realize the difference……

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  • Awans
    Aug 1, 2012 - 3:04PM

    Recently My friend who worked Under Military contract to build a Bridge told me that their Private firm had a meeting with the High Ranking General of Pakistan. The high ranking general was heading the Bridge Project in Azad Kashmir. The general ordered the firm that i want the bridge in 4 months but company told him that first Feasibility report have to be prepared and then the Bridge can be made. Upon this The General Ordered that first build the bridge and then afterwards you can make feasibility report and feasibility studies. So it is how Our Sceintific Organizations are run by a person who dont have a technical know how but he knows how to give orders to Bloody Dumb Civilians who are PHDs and Masters in this Field but have no importance in front of person who has an education of 14 years of BSc in Arts and only have lust of Power and nothing else.

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  • Tamil Arasan
    Aug 1, 2012 - 3:16PM

    @Tosser:
    The difference between Indian and Pakistan is peoples mind set, which you shown in the below point in your message…

    “The point is, Pakistan has the expertise to match India (and people better than India)… it’s just going in another direction.”

    And I feel even in 2040 you will not be able to even come near the achievements of ISRO’s 2012 – with your this mentality of empty talk!!!

    I see many Pakistani say Indian’s had good leaders so they made it possible, agreed but tell me one thing are the leaders come for out side a country, they are also a part of a society and I believe if we are looking for a change then every individual must change and naturally good leaders will come…

    Below is a lovely video in which our great scientist and former president Dr. APG Kalam tells the audience how ISRO was nurtured under a great leadership…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_-h1Qhk9X0

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  • Sundar
    Aug 1, 2012 - 3:48PM

    @Tosser:
    you are entirely wrong..many of India’s missiles were built on the sucess of its civilian vehicles..buying some tested missiles from NK/China and re-testing with accuracy is one thing..but doing the same with satellite launch vehicles is another ball game..if you can build the nuclear bomb defying the world community, what stops you from pursuing satellite program..just admit it and work on competing the right way..just like we do admit that China’s space program is advanced than us and working to catchup with them, esp. the manned space program.
    One thing i must agree, Pakistan, being India centric, always gets its priorities wrong..

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  • Vigilant Citizen
    Aug 1, 2012 - 3:56PM

    Although the goals being set by Suparco are regressive, it is essential for the organization to meet its pending goals, solely for the purpose of not bypassing any points on the training curve. One can’t expect to land a man on the moon without having mastered the science of putting a satellite in orbit, as trivial as it may be in the current space age.
    As for the entire debate about the funding and the leadership, I reckon it is the leadership’s duty to highlight the dire need for funds. If the issue of lack of funds, or proposals or alternate means to raise funds, has never even surfaced, then I needn’t point fingers to rest the blame; it is entirely evident.
    Lastly, it is folly to believe that anything good will come out of this debate if our government lacks even the vision to implement a uniform educational program, let alone a space program.

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  • wolfie love kulfi
    Aug 1, 2012 - 4:07PM

    Pakistan is still a long way to even design a PSLV may be in 2070 we could seen Pakistan launch its own moon mission but 2040 is just unrealistic as it takes decades to build such systems be it US , Russia, China, India or European Union Space agencies as they have done on their own

    AS its not that simple it takes lots of dedication , money and good training and R & D facilities with years of research SUPRACO does NOT even have that :(

    can u name just one private Pakistani partner that invests funds into SUPRACO to help their research ?
    Answer is NO because there isn’t a single One ..

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  • Hedgefunder
    Aug 1, 2012 - 4:23PM

    @S Mansoor:
    LOL !!!! Yes you are quite right ! Solve the problems on land first then dream about the skies above !

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  • AK
    Aug 1, 2012 - 4:54PM

    So your generals perform open heart surgeries as well..?

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  • bharat
    Aug 1, 2012 - 5:44PM

    I think we should stop making it India Vs Pakistan .

    As an Indian, i am happy if Pakistan progresses because then it will be good for India to have
    a prosperous neighbour.

    Similarly, its good for Pakistan too to have a prosperous neighbour in form of India

    The fact remains that our countries do not look eye to eye, the people are lovely but not politicians

    I am pretty sure that Pakistan has many untapped minerals, Indian firms could have developed those but now the environment is so bad that no investment is possible

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  • khalsa
    Aug 1, 2012 - 6:19PM

    @Tosser:
    if it were about your priority your nation wouldnt have lost the orbits issued to it in early years. pakistan has lost not one but many orbits in space due to lack of technology and this is serious thing. your atomic sector is on stolen format as said by father of pakistani nuclear bomb and the missiles. yes we know how every military stuff lands in pakistan from china and north korea. its everywhere how pakistan traded nuke secret with north korea for missiles. check any part of world the database says the same and this is also confessed by eminent pakistani generals and scientists.

    leave rocket even make a sounding rocket. why a missile making nation cant produce a sounding rocket? sounding rocket has nothing to with priority and other such stuff

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  • sk
    Aug 1, 2012 - 7:07PM

    This is a very informative article about Pakistan’s space programme. Recommend

  • Singh
    Aug 1, 2012 - 7:10PM

    “In December 2002, Pakistan acquired a satellite from the American satellite-building firm Hughes Global Systems (HGS) at a cost of around five million dollars.
    HGS had designed a satellite for Indonesia, but after a battery problem occurred making it useless during certain hours of the day, it was sold to Pakistan as Paksat-1.
    Later, General Pervez Musharraf would claim that “Pakistan’s space programme is now ahead of India after the formal launching of Paksat-I and this is due to the hard work of our scientists.”

    Say it all about Pakistan technical know how.
    Any doubt.

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  • Aug 1, 2012 - 7:28PM

    Pakistan has an active space program with many space scientists and engineers with advanced imaging and remote sensing, data collection and analysis for a variety of space applications ranging from weather forecasting to resource management Pakistan can quickly re-purpose its ballistic missiles as SLVs for satellite launches. It’s just a matter of focus and priority.

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  • Saad BP
    Aug 1, 2012 - 7:33PM

    I don’t know why every article on ET tends to mock a certain institution. Everyone knows that the role of Chairman or President in any organisation is ceremonial. This is not some entrepreneurial startup where all power is with the CEO. An army general sitting on top would have nothing to do with the working of this organisation. The article fails to mention the sanctions that were imposed on Pakistan during the 90′s. Pakistan had to freeze its space program once in the 70′s for nuclear weapons and again in the 90′s because of these sanctions. On the other hand Indians recieved support and cooperation from every space giant in the world. It all comes down to the lack of funds and the economic condition of Pakistan. If the national kitty could support a multi million nearing a billion dollar venture, why are we suffering from power outages? Objectivity is the first rule of journalism which is see violated on ET everyday.Recommend

  • Arjun
    Aug 1, 2012 - 9:16PM

    Pakistan can boast of is the successful launch of its first fully functional communication satellite, the Paksat-1R, whose first anniversary comes this August.This satellite, however, was not indigenously built.

    Maybe you should “launch” a new dictionary that redefines the meaning on the word launch.

    Meanwhile, a blast from the past..

    Satellite to help promote education: Musharraf launches Paksat-I

    Inaugurating the satellite, the president described it as a truly historic achievement for Pakistan and Pakistanis. “This marks a tremendous achievement demonstrating the skill and technical excellence of the country’s manpower.”

    “Pakistan’s space programme is now ahead of India after the formal launching of Paksat-I and this is due to the hard work of our scientists and I am sure Indians would take another 30 months to do the job,” Gen Musharraf claimed.

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  • Aug 1, 2012 - 9:28PM

    @Tosser:
    Really? like the ones which are painted in green and whose manuals are translated from chinese to urdu?
    great feat indeed. send zaid hamid on moon with one of those please.

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  • Aug 1, 2012 - 9:40PM

    Arjun: “Maybe you should “launch” a new dictionary that redefines the meaning on the word launch.”

    Space technology is much more than just satellite launch capability; data acquisition and applications are far more important in terms of benefits of such a program. Pakistan’s space program is very wide-ranging and diverse. Satellite ground stations in Pakistan acquire data from multiple satellites and provide it to a large number of scientists and engineers as well as students for a very broad range of useful applications.

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  • Tosser
    Aug 1, 2012 - 9:55PM

    @Vishnu Dutta:
    If we send Zaid Hamid to moon, then India will be toast.

    Why wish for something you will regret?

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  • Tosser
    Aug 1, 2012 - 10:09PM

    BTW, if the Indian fantasy is true… that all Pakistani missiles are actually Chinese… then that’s just fine and dandy since everyone knows Chinese missile tech is far far superior to anything India can dream of.

    Also, do notice all the Indians with fake Pak names jumping up and turning this into Pak vs India issue.

    Must have touched a nerve……. LOL

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  • Zaid Hamid
    Aug 2, 2012 - 1:04AM

    Inshallah, I will go to the moon one day, or I will die trying. Whether Indians like it or not, makes no difference for me.

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  • Arjun
    Aug 2, 2012 - 1:38AM

    Space technology is much more than just satellite launch capability; data acquisition and applications are far more important in terms of benefits of such a program. Pakistan’s space program is very wide-ranging and diverse.

    Yeah..it has everything…except launch capability….like a car with air conditioning, fancy stereo system, cup holders, GPS etc etc….but with no engine…

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  • Aug 2, 2012 - 4:18AM

    Imran Con: “Do tell me what part of military training involves rocket science and business structure.”

    Have you heard of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency?
    Do tell me what kind of military training in the US involved the development of missiles, computers and the Internet and other technologies?

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/06/militarys-role-in-pakistans-industrial.html

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  • Naresh
    Aug 2, 2012 - 4:08PM

    Guys and Dolls : Please do not Argue with Riaz Haq Esq.
    .
    He Will Drag You Down To His Level and Beat You With Experience
    .
    Cheers

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  • Aug 2, 2012 - 8:18PM

    Arjun: “like a car with air conditioning, fancy stereo system, cup holders, GPS etc etc….but with no engine…”

    Yes, unlike the overloaded Indian jugaads with just an engine you see plying on “highways” in India, Pak space program is the real thing with all of the capabilities except trucking service that can be easily bought; ..the US is using Soviet Soyuz for transporting stuff to international space station. .

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  • Strike Eagle
    Aug 2, 2012 - 8:40PM

    @Tosser:
    So you shamelessly confess that ur missiles are “Made in China” pieces? Awesome! :D :D

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  • Aug 3, 2012 - 1:21AM

    @Strike: “So you shamelessly confess that ur missiles are “Made in China” pieces? Awesome! :D :D”

    And you shamelessly refuse to acknowledge that Indians ripped off US technology to build their missiles. According to the details published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Abul Kalam spent four months in training in the United States in 1963-1964. He visited NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, where the U.S. Scout rocket was conceived, and the Wallops Island Flight Center on the Virginia coast, where the Scout was being flown. Soon after Abul Kalam’s visit, India requested and received detailed technical reports on the Scout’s design, which was unclassified.

    US Scout and India’s SLV3 are both 23 meters long, use four similar solid-fuel stages and “open loop” guidance, and lift a 40-kilogram payload into low earth orbit. The SLV’s 30-foot first stage later became the first stage of the Agni.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2010/04/indias-indigenous-copies-of-foreign.htmlRecommend

  • 1984
    Aug 3, 2012 - 3:09AM

    @Riaz Haq:
    I truly admire you sir…Within a span of half an hr,you create a blog for a topic posted in Express Tribune or any post made and post the link in the comments section so as to attract audience to your blog and earn ad revenue…..

    Would be happy if you publish a bit of truth and proper links to verify your musing in your blog..but credit should go to you to make a sucker out of everyone and increase your viewership

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  • Aug 3, 2012 - 4:16AM

    1984: “Would be happy if you publish a bit of truth and proper links to verify your musing in your blog.”

    Every piece of data I cite and every assertion I make is fully backed by highly credible sources cited and linked in my posts. I invite all readers to check for themselves. As to Indians copying foreign nukes and missiles, I cite the exact same sources that Indians love to cite when it suits them.

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  • munnabhai
    Aug 3, 2012 - 11:54PM

    I doubt Pakistan will exist by 2040.

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  • realist
    Aug 4, 2012 - 2:38AM

    “The last civilian scientist to have headed the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) was Dr Abdul Majid, who planned the Paksat communication satellite system and satellite launch vehicle projects.

    On his retirement in April 2001, Majid handed over charge to Major General (retd) Raza Hussain, whose tenure lasted till August, 2010.”

    Note to be critical, but SUPARCO was headed by a civilian as late as 2001. However, the achievements between 1950s-2001 do not appear very noteworthy either. The problem may not be who heads an organisation.

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  • Saqib
    Aug 4, 2012 - 4:57AM

    This is madness. Let other nations explores the skies and we should focus on providing free health and education facilities to our people first. There are more than 70% pakistanis without their own houses. Our country faces flood atleast twice in every 10 years. We should not waste our energy and resources on such stupid things including military expenses and nuclear energy. Its like a beggar is planning to buy a Mercedes. Stop showing off. Develop your people first so that they can earn an honest living and maintain reasonable standard of living. Leave the star trek madness to west.

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  • Aug 4, 2012 - 5:00AM

    munnabhai: “I doubt Pakistan will exist by 2040.”

    Pakistanis are no strangers to the oft-repeated apocalyptic forecasts of imminent collapse of their nation that have been regularly dished out by many western leaders, leading analysts and mainstream media over the years. The 2009 Swat valley insurgency and 2010-2011 summer floods sent these pessimist pundits in overdrive yet again as the images of the victims of these crises were widely distributed and discussed at length.

    But Pakistan has shown time and again that it is too resilient and too big to fail!

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/03/resilient-pakistan-defies-doomsayers.html

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  • Aug 4, 2012 - 7:34AM

    munnabhai: “I doubt Pakistan will exist by 2040.”

    Pakistanis are no strangers to the oft-repeated apocalyptic forecasts of imminent collapse of Pakistan that have been regularly dished out by many western leaders, leading analysts and mainstream media over the years. The 2009 Swat valley insurgency and 2010-2011 summer floods sent these pessimist pundits in overdrive yet again as the images of the victims of these crises were widely distributed and discussed at length.

    But Pakistan has shown time and again that it is too resilient and too big to fail!

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/03/resilient-pakistan-defies-doomsayers.html

    Recommend

  • David Smith
    Aug 4, 2012 - 5:56PM

    an excellent summary, you’ve saved hundreds of hours for students who study space programs of various countries, including that of Pakistan. I’m only sorry the tone set by the article has been lowered by some in the comments section.

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  • Jai
    Aug 4, 2012 - 9:20PM

    @Tosser:
    You really think the Chinese would give you the top end of their tech? No country does that. However India would use the top end of it’s indigenous tech to defend itself.

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  • Jai
    Aug 4, 2012 - 9:28PM

    “A leading scientist told The Express Tribune that back then, the idea was to launch a satellite that could stage a ‘cultural counter attack’ on India with the influx of new Pakistani TV channels”.
    So you go into space and are still obsessed with counter attacking India? Kind of defeats the purpose of going into space if you don’t notice, we are infact one world.

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  • Sumi Gallop
    Aug 4, 2012 - 10:29PM

    Well, we all should appreciate that space technology is an expensive arena to work in along with huge embargos on countries like Pakistan. Only long-time committed resources can yield into an effective/ useful Space Program realization.Unfortunately, our governments never had a vision/ capability to understand the importance of Space Technology and its Applications thus funds were never made available to such organizations. The result is obvious i.e. Pakistan still lacks in this very important aspect.

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  • PK
    Aug 4, 2012 - 11:00PM

    @Riaz Haq:
    Really Pakistan has all the capability? I am assuming you are talking about building complex remote sensing satellites to communication and weather satellites. If yes then what is Pakistan waiting for, shouldn’t it be unleashing the ‘real thing’ by using hired trucks so to speak! Unfortunately these ‘hired trucks’ are very expensive and one reason why India and other countries are building these rockets is that it is cheaper to do it yourself then rely on others. I hope the economics is clear to you.

    Unfortunately for you the ‘only things missing’ is the most difficult thing to get it right and that is why the analogy as difficult as Rocket science.

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  • san
    Aug 7, 2012 - 5:27PM

    @Tosser:
    As you people go to madarsa for science education how can you claim Pakistan to be advance militarily than India ? So far you have not proven any such things.Your military armaments are Chinese outdated gadgets only. People all over the world know what Pakistan is expert for.

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  • Aug 11, 2012 - 3:19PM

    @Zaid Hamid:
    a
    hhahahahahahhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahhahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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  • Aug 11, 2012 - 3:43PM

    @Riaz Haq:

    Mr. Riaz, so sad , why every thing the paks do become india centric, i laugh so much, about the mushraf doctrine that paks will out class india in space, india has its own compulsions, needs, visions feeding 1.2 billion, teaching, housing
    let paks have their own visions , 60 years have passed, where did we reach, what are our plans, filling the armoury with foreign weapons,
    west and russia survives with our dollars, when this game will stop
    Why religion is so mad in both the nations, since 60 years did somebody went to heaven from both nations, 60 crores of hindus died at the hand of muslim invaders , still hindus survived,
    stop all these mad tits and tats and try to think differently
    all the best

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  • afzal
    Sep 24, 2012 - 10:48PM

    lol…….its waste to talk about pakistans space agency…we cant guarantee security to citizens…bomb blast takes place on the m2 motorway regularly…this 2040 is itself a dream………..

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