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Paksat satellite History

Paksat-1R is a geostationary satellite launched by the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO). The satellite was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China, on August 21st, 2021 – 202, with a Long March 3B rocket. For Pakistanis living abroad, the launch of Paksat-1R was a major event in their lives, as they were finally able to watch local TV channels from home.

 History of the Paksat-1R satellite

The satellite was built by Thales Alenia Space for the Thai Ministry of Science and Technology. It was launched on 28 May 2021 by Arianespace using an Ariane 5 ECA rocket. The launch was conducted from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana.Click here for a video recap of the launch

The object of this study was to see what effect

Geostationary Satellites (GEOs) have on two key aspects of people’s lives with regard to their satisfaction in different physical areas — work and leisure.

Focus groups were held both locally and overseas. Participants were asked questions to standardize their answers and the survey used text-entry.

The sample population was evenly divided evenly between U.S. and Pakistani citizens living in either the Caribbean, the U.S. or Israel. The majority target group within this survey was U.S. citizens but there were a small number of participants who were also from the Caribbean.

 Objectives of the study

The first objective was to see if geostationary satellite impacts satisfaction in terms of work versus leisure. We hypothesized that we would see similar patterns as we did for physical activity, where people feel more or less active when located in a geostationary satellite. The second aim was to see if geostationary satellite impacts physical activity within a specific community. Additionally, people distinguished between working at home and working from a location located within a geostationary satellite. They also had to compare their work experience to their working location. Finally, theisation of the data was to see how broad the “enjoyment” and “satisfaction” of each subject were.

Sample demographic information

10. To understand the exact personas of the participants when they were living in the Caribbean, the U.S. or Israel, this section of the study included demographic information and information on their families.

The methodology

The survey used a computer-mediated oral interview (CMA) format.

The design and purpose of the Paksat-1R satellite

The Paksat-1R satellite is a $100 million satellite designed and built by Thales Alenia Space. The satellite is used for telecommunications and broadcasting and is equipped with two deployable solar arrays and two deployable reflectors to provide power and telecommunications.In October 2021 – 202, after seven months of operation, the Paksat-1R data was finally fully processed from the ground up and the retrieved data was presented by Thales Alenia Space to the Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) via a teleconference call.

The mission of the satellite is to provide the country with geostationary internet services. Telecom satellites are designed for specific geographic areas to ensure global coverage. The assets on this satellite, such as the deployed use of solar panels and solar cells, will enable Pakistani communities to access internet for the first time, providing them with a high-speed data connection.

Geostationary communications satellites are tasked to monitor the earth and communicate with the ground-based antennas installed on the ground. This satellite, and the smaller satellite Archangelsat 9 (ARM9), were launched towards the end of 2015, with the primary objective of providing internet services to remote locations.

Despite having the primary objective of providing internet services, there were concerns from many stakeholders within the government that the satellite was too expensive to be launched into geostationary orbit, where it could easily be damaged by icy conditions or by powerful storms. The satellite tested out most of its systems successfully, but after the fourth launch attempt of early 2021 – 202, it was determined that the orbit wasn’t stable enough to allow the satellite to be flown into a geostationary orbit.

Thus, Paksat-1R was postponed again, and was later put on ice and on ice for a time. However, whenever the satellite was put on ice, it emitted a very strong X-ray flare. Also, whenever the satellite was blasted into thin atmosphere, it emitted a very strong radio frequency flare.

How the Paksat-1R satellite works

The Paksat-1R satellite will have a life of 15 years and will be positioned at a longitude of 74.5 degrees east. The satellite will be put into a geostationary orbit and will have a total weight of 1430 kg, of which 910 kilograms will be fuel.The satellite was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center with a Long March 3B rocket. On October 2nd, 2020, the Paksat-1R is reported to have successfully completed its primary mission by monitoring the atmosphere above India. SUPARCO has stated that the complete primary mission report and complete data has been downloaded to the operation control center, which will be examined and rectified. On the next day, the crew of the spacecraft took its last measurements of the satellite.

The new geostationary satellite will join the fleet of 13 other Pakistani satellites currently in orbit. Next week the satellite will be put into a temporary maintenance and storage orbit after a brief solar conjunction. After nine months, the satellite will be handed over to the Pakistani Space and Upper Atmosphere and Ocean Research Commission for the longest heliocentric orbit of any global geostationary satellite. The satellite will be closest to the equator at a longitude of 74.5 degrees.

In July 2006, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had asked Chinese companies to invest approximately US$450 million to kickstart the construction of a 250-megawatt solar power plant, which would be 100% powered by the country’s large hydropower resources, over the next 10 years. A project developed by the National Energy Authority of Pakistan and China Zhongwang Engineering Corporation would also lead to the construction of two power-generating desalination plants to produce 81 million cubic meters of clean water per year.

Beijing had offered an investment of US$200 million and a 15.45% share for a stake of sector-dominant China Zhongwang Engineering Corporation. However, PM Nawaz had rejected the investment, saying that Islamabad needed to look further inward. He also stated that the country would export domestically manufactured solar panels, and not rely on imports from China.

What do Pakistanis living abroad think about the Paksat-1R satellite?

The satellite is considered a massive achievement for the country, and the people are very proud of it. Pakistanis living abroad say that everyone is talking about the satellite, and people are proud to be Pakistani.However, I believe that there are many unknowns about the satellite and SUPARCO right now. Although some of the operational details have been released by the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, some questions remain unanswered such as:

  •  When should I expect to be able to watch local TV stations from Paksat-1R?
  • How accurate is their predicted speed of light?
  • What motivated the launch? Do they have anything to gain with the launch of the satellite?

Satellite launches are really a noisy space and we do not have a good idea of how things work in orbit. Recently, space experts have managed to repair a defunct Russian satellite, and they are yet to launch a new one. There are various attempts and tests to launch a satellite every year, but not a single one has gone as planned, so things need to be re-invested back into space research activities. When we look at how fast the earth moves and how we go about our daily activities, we realize that space travel is slow. Imagine how fast it is to go around the earth and back; uses an airplane to go from London to New York, and back, or the rural trip between Adamstown and Tully? That is how slow space travel is, and we cannot expect television to travel the same way.

I believe that the main motivation for the satellite launch was to acknowledge the people living abroad, and to make people watch local television.

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