It was the year 1960, when the US-government had announced that they are going to land an American on moon and safely return to home, before the decade was over. And in 9169 US government succeeded to land their men on moon and bringing them safely to home. What was our condition at that time? We had already fought two battles against India and were going to start another one very soon in1971.The Pakistan established Space and Upper Atmosphere Commission (SUPARCO) in 1961, whilethe Indian Space Research Organization ISRO was established in 1969-eight years after its Pakistani counterpart.
SUPARCO was setup by country’s only Nobel laureate in the field of physics Dr.Abdus Salam. Soon after meeting with NASA officials,Pakistan launched the first rocket REHBAR-I with the assistance of NASA.with this project Pakistan became the third country in Asia, First in South Asia and tenth in the world to launch the rocket in the space. But after that Pakistan’s space program severally lagged because of political turmoil which enveloped the country. WhileIndia launched the first satellite ARYABHATA in space in 1975 and Pakistan built its first satellite in BADR-I and launched in 1990
India is now the only nation to put its first orbiter in the Mars’s orbit in the first attempt without the assistance of any other nation. Meanwhile, we are still limited to Geographical Information System (GIS), remote sensing and communication satellite. And India is going to launch more than a half dozen of satellites in future ,giving few names i.e. GSAT -6 & 6A,GSAT-9,GSAT-11,GSAT-15,GSAT and few others for different needs and purposes. What are we doing?
The Pakistan runs the only communication satellite Paksat-1R, launched in 2011, which was funded, designed,built and launched by our closest friend China. Pakistan was in the first ten nations who launched their rockets inspace, and SUPARCO was all ahead the world’s space agencies but what happened then? We are now nowhere in space. Nowhere in technology, nowhere in literacy, where are we?
It’s time to make our space in space technology. Why space technology? All the way from electronics to human biology, this is the one area where technological advances require such intensive research on every subject. We have seen many discoveries in one field or another as offshoots of space programs.
As US space shuttle’s fuel pump design which led to invention of artificial heart .the heart has now been planted to more than 20 people.
The Hubble space telescope now helps to sharpen the images of mammograms for treatment of breast cancer patients.
Dresses to keep body temperature controlled for patients in certain disease were inspired from astronaut’s space suits.
That is why United States is spending billions of dollars on NASA every year, not just for obsession in space but for technological prowess all over, which ultimately translates into country’s development.
Now it’s the turn for Government to pay attention! The annual budget of the SUPARCO should be increased to make it functional again. SUPARCO can still lead in regional space programs.
I am sure that if India reached mars in first attempt Pakistan can also reach new horizon in first attempt.