LAHORE -  The world’s satellite industry revenues have posted average annual growth of 9 percent while total industry revenues have reached $177.3 billion.

This was stated by the speakers during a technical lecture organised by the Pakistan Engineering Congress on ‘Satellite Technology and Applications.’ The key speaker was Shakeel Zahid, member of Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), while introductory remarks were delivered by the PEC President Ch Ghulam Hussain.

Zahid said that space technology has huge potential for playing a key role in the socio-economic development and security of any country. Demand for space technology and its numerous applications are growing globally as well as in Pakistan. Over the years, Pakistan’s Space Programme has made significant contribution towards the socio-economic development of the country.

The speakers said that all four segments of satellite industry posted growth in last one decade in the world, as satellite services revenues, the largest segment, grew by 6 percent. Regarding the availability of cheap bandwidth/capacity onboard in Pakistan, they said that PakSat-1 satellite led to even more rapid growth in the demand for satellite capacity/services during 2002 to 2016, mainly due to exponential growth in TV/video broadcasting Industry, rapid increase in Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG), substantial growth in internet and government/corporate networks, rapid increase in GSM backhaul connectivity via satellite.

The exponential growth in TV/video broadcasting/distribution (through cable) has also led to phenomenal growth in the supporting industry (advertising, programme production, acting, news reporting, etc). The rapidly growing interest and demand for the bandwidth-hungry new services, such as DTH TV/ video, broadband internet, HDTV and 3DTV, present enormous business opportunities in Pakistan where at the moment no one is offering any of these services.

In India, presently there are seven companies providing DTH services to 30 million users, generating yearly revenue of more than 376 billion Indian rupees. Implementation over the next three decades of the already approved Pakistan/SUPARCO Space Vision-2040 is envisaged to result in a huge increase in space related business in the country. Regarding the socio-economic development effect of space technology, the speakers said that through this technology more efficient and effective management of natural or man-made disasters (floods, earthquakes, wars, etc) can be done, besides reaching out to the masses living in remote or difficult to reach areas and providing them quality education.

“We can detect and locate aviators, mariners and land-based users in distress and to pass on this information to the search and rescue agencies worldwide.”

 Moreover, through this technology crop health determination, crop yield assessment and fertility analysis can be made besides food security through better policy formulation, accurate, reliable and effective land use planning, monitoring and control,” the speakers said.

In view of national security, this technology can be used for communication satellite systems/networks, offer quick, reliable and secure means of communication to the government/security forces scattered over large distances on the ground, in the air and at the sea. Navigation satellites offer accurate and reliable means of guidance to security forces and their weapon systems. High-resolution earth observation satellites provide very valuable intelligence about the adversary, they added.