China successfully launched two remote sensing satellites PRSS-1 and PakTes-1A of Pakistan on board of Long March-2C rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre. It was overall 279th mission for the Long March rocket series (mainly used to send satellites into low Earth or Sun-synchronous orbits) and first international commercial launch in nearly two decades after it carried Motorola’s Iridium satellites into orbit in 1999.
PRSS-1: It is China’s first optical remote sensing satellite sold to Pakistan. It can carry out day and night monitoring. It also has viewing capacity even in clouded conditions. It will be used for land and resources surveying, agriculture research, urban construction, monitoring of natural disasters and to provide remote sensing information for (CPEC) under China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It is China’s first optical remote sensing satellite sold to Pakistan and overall 17th satellite developed by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) for an overseas buyer.
PakTES-1A: It is Pakistan’s indigenously developed scientific experiment satellite developed by engineers from its space agency SUPARCO (Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission).
The launch of the two satellites marks yet another space cooperation between China and its all-weather ally Pakistan. The satellites will provide space remote sensing information services for strategic US$ 50 billon China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through. Pakistan already had five satellites in space but lacks heavy duty launchers and satellite fabrication facilities and is dependent on China. India is way ahead of Pakistan in space technology, with 43 operational satellites in space. India also has its indigenous radar imaging satellites with all-weather surveillance capability.