Beijing/Islamabad, July 10: China on Monday launched two satelites for its 'all weather' friend Pakistan that, among other things, are meant to keep an eye on India. The launch of the two satellites marks yet another space cooperation between China and Pakistan since the launch of PAKSAT-1R, a communication satellite, in August 2011.
One of the two satelites is the PRSS-1 - a remote sensing satellite built by China. The other - PakTES-1A - is Pakistan's indigenously developed scientific experiment satellite. The two satelites were launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China using a Long March-2C rocket, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.
The PRSS-1, which is China's first optical remote sensing satellite sold to Pakistan, is capable of conducting day and night monitoring even in low visiblity. The satelite would be useful for survilence over land, natural disastours and will provide remote sensing information for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
According to a NDTV report, scientists believe the PRSS-1 would also help Pakistan keep watch on India. It is the 17th satellite developed by the China Academy of Space Technology for an overseas buyer. It has a designed life of seven years and is equipped with two panchromatic/multispectral cameras, with a resolution up to a metre and a coverage range of 60 km.
Designers say the two cameras are among the best exported remote sensing cameras made by China. They can be used to monitor plant diseases and pests, the report said. Each camera has independent image processing, storage and transmission capability. The design of lossless compression could greatly improve the quality of the images, according to the designers.
The satellite can turn at wide angles to enable the cameras to cover a wider range. The PRSS-1 has an information security design, and the data can be encrypted. The data transmission system is a mature technology, which has been used in more than 20 Chinese satellites, said He Xinyang, vice president of the Xi'an branch of the CAST.
When the satellite flies over Pakistan, it can send back real-time images, said Zhang Qian, a designer for the data transmission system. Today's launch is the 279th mission of the Long March rocket series. Long March-2C rockets are mainly used to send satellites into low Earth or Sun-synchronous orbits.
It is also the first international commercial launch for a Long March-2C rocket within nearly two decades after it carried Motorola's Iridium satellites into orbit in 1999. (With agency inputs)