ISLAMABAD - The space cooperation between the developing and the developed states was figured high on Monday as the delegates from different countries and international and regional organisations gathered here following the launch of a three-day national moot hosted by Pakistan.

The conference would see discussions and deliberations on usage of space technology for improving relationship between the developing and developed states vis-à-vis economic development and pursuing other mutual prospects, international space laws and challenges, as well as the countries response to these constraints.

The representatives from Canada, Malaysia, Ukraine, Nigeria, Egypt, United Nations and Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation showed up for the National Space Conference (September 17-19) organised by Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO).

The delegates from Russia and China would join the conference today (Tuesday), SUPARCO sources said.

In the recent years, Pakistan has collaborated with Russia, China and Ukraine on different space ventures. In this regard, SUPARCO has signed a few agreements with Russian Federal Space Agency (RFSA), China Great Wall Industry Cooperation (CGWIC) and the State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU). Islamabad’s prospects in space technology saw a major headway last year following the launch of its maiden communication satellite PAKSAT-1R, that is part of Pakistan Space Programme 2040. The China-manufactured satellite is an upgraded version of PAKSAT-1.

The satellite has a 15-year lifecycle and would be re-processed in 2026. It is the major source of providing televised broadcasts, radio signals and cyber data to Pakistan from Asia, Europe and Africa. Beijing’s premier strategic and space body, CGWIC, in coordination with SUPARCO, had manufactured PAKSAT-1R, reportedly in February 2011. The Strategic Plans Division (SPD) partly executes the satellite’s technical side

Following the first anniversary of the communication satellite, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Syed Naveed Qamar had said that Islamabad would work closely with Beijing for the further upgradation of PAKSAT 1-R, besides starting other joint ventures in the space sector. “This is just the beginning. We are eyeing on expanding our space projects with the help of China,” he had told this newspaper then.

Last year, the National Command Authority (NCA) had introduced Pakistan Space Programme 2040. Looked to have been a promising space venture, the project, SUPARCO officials believe, might face constraints coming from the financial side, as it requires continuous funding allocations amounting in billions of rupees. “This is only possible through mutual cooperation and interdependence we could share with the other states,” the officials believed.

In this year’s fiscal budget, the SUPARCO has received over 124 million rupees for its National Satellite Development Programme (NSDP), nearly Rs 115 million for the Satellite Bus Development Facility (Phase-I), Rs 46 million for providing logistics support to the NSDC and over Rs 41 million for Altitude and Orbit Control System (AOCS) out of the SUPARCO’s total developmental budget of Rs 717 million.

Meanwhile, a statement issued after the space conference’s inaugural session quoted Chairman SUPARCO Ahmed Bilal as saying that the approval of Pakistan’s space vision 2040 had placed Pakistan among the space faring nations.

The conference is organised with the objective to exchange ideas and work undertaken by various national and international experts. It shall be a regular biennial event, he said.

Speakers from National Space Research & Development Agency (NASDRA) Nigeria, National Authority for Remote Sensing& Space Sciences (NARSS) Egypt, and Embassy of Ukraine in Pakistan, presented national space programmes of the three respective countries, the SUPARCO statement said.

The delegates from the participant states would formulate, exchange and publicly share their recommendations at the conference’s concluding session on Wednesday.