Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, in a ground-breaking announcement on Thursday, said the selection process to send Pakistan’s first citizen to space will begin in February 2020.
According to the federal minister’s tweet, Pakistan will be sending its first person to space in the year 2022. Fifty people will be shortlisted and then the list of prospective astronauts will be further cut down to 25 individuals.
“In 2022 we will send our first person to space,” the minister said, terming it the “biggest space event of our history”.
Last year, Chaudhry had said the country would send a human to space in 2022. The then information minister added that it would be the success of the country’s space programme and further said that Chinese assistance would be sought in this matter.
Pakistan also launched two indigenously built satellites into orbit, using a Chinese launch vehicle.The satellites were launched onboard a Chinese Long March (LM-2C) rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre located at the Gobi desert, China.
One of the satellites launched was a remote sensing satellite (PRSS1) – a dual-purpose Earth observational and optical satellite. With the PRSS1, Pakistan has become one of the few countries to have its own remote sensing satellite in the orbit.
The second test satellite launched was a PAK-TES-1A, developed by Space and Upper Atmospheric Research Commission (Suparco) to enhance satellite manufacture capabilities in the country.