China launches 2 ‘spy’ satellites for Pakistan

China successfully launched two remote sensing satellites for its “all-weather” ally Pakistan, which will also help the two countries monitor progress as they build the strategic $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The remote-sensing satellites are also used for reconnaissance and surveillance and thus these two can be classified as ‘spy satellites’. Besides monitoring the economic corridor, Pakistan can use them to keep an eye on arc-rival India and its military activties along the border.

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. The satellites — PRSS-1 and PakTES-1A — were launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China at 11.56 am using a Long March-2C rocket, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The PRSS-1 is China’s first optical remote sensing satellite sold to Pakistan. It is the 17th satellite developed by the China Academy of Space Technology for an overseas buyer, it said. A scientific experiment satellite, PakTES-1A, developed by engineers of the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, was sent into orbit using the same rocket.

The PRSS-1 will be used for land and resources surveying, monitoring of natural disasters, agriculture research, urban construction and providing remote sensing information for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor under the BRI of the Chinese government.

The satellite, which has a life of seven years, is equipped with two panchromatic / multispectral cameras, with a resolution up to a metre and a coverage range of 60 km. The satellites can turn at wide angles to enable cameras to cover a wider range. The PRSS-1 has an information security design, and the data can be encrypted.

No comments: