Development of Pakistan’s Space Program

Author Name: Air Marshal Waseem ud din (Retd) & Dr Ali Javed Hashmi & Abdullah Rehman Butt      19 Jul 2022     Emerging Technologies

Abstract : With space applications and activities growing at an unprecedented pace in recent times, Space has emerged as a critical element of national power. Space applications in science and technology have proven their usefulness in making vital contributions to the socioeconomic development and national security of states. Realizing its importance in national development and security, states around the world are investing heavily in their national space programs for civil, commercial, security and scientific purposes.

Pakistan commenced its space program in 1961, and the Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) was entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the development of Pakistan’s space program. Since then, SUPARCO has remained involved in various space activities, including the design, development, and launch of multipurpose satellites, satellite data applications, and establishment of required ground infrastructure.

However, despite venturing into space in the early 60s, Pakistan has not been able to showcase any worthwhile progress in the sector. The reasons for this below par performance are many. Space has not been given its due importance by successive governments. This has resulted in failure to formulate domestic space laws, a modern space regulatory framework, and a National Space Policy to control and monitor national space-related activities.

This paper analyzes Pakistan’s existing space capabilities, highlights its international obligations in outer space, provides a broad outline for a National Space Policy framework, and recommends a way forward. The objective here is to identify existing gaps in national space outlook and suggest policy guidelines as well as the most significant measures that could facilitate the realization of a viable, sustainable and effective space program – fulfilling the national socioeconomic, scientific, and security requirements.

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