Pakistan’s Space Research Program was launched 8 years ahead of India, when renowned physicist Abdus Salam convinced President Ayub Khan to set up a National Space Agency. Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) was then set up.
It launched its first Rocket, Rehbar 1 with help from NASA in 1962. This was one year before the India’s first rocket launch.
With this launch Pakistan became the third country in Asia to launch rockets after Israel & Japan.
Despite its head start and the initial success, SUPARCO is decades behind ISRO in terms of technology and successful launches both.
Where ISRO broke a world record by launching 104 satellites, SUPARCO has its eyes set at Mission 2040. The Agency has set year 2040 as the target to make and launch an indigenous satellite by that year. By then India probably would have reached Venus and also revisited Mars.
Yes we all have heard of this
“India reached Mars while Pakistan is still struggling to get into Kashmir.”
But what went wrong with Pakistan?
The problems for Pakistan started in 1980’s & 1990’s. When, the then President Zia-ul-Haq, who also served Pakistan army as four-star rank general, reduced the funding of the major space projects. His major focus was to develop more and more weapons, which affected the space research program.
Scientists were replaced by Military Generals to head the SUPARCO. The focus of the agency shifted from space research program to countering India. The government also disowned Abdus Salam, who was the first administrator of SUPARCO. This shunned all the assistance this great mind could offer.
Another reason that has been hurting the Pakistan’s space program ever since the launch is education. Due to crunched education funding, Pakistan’s youth has been neglected from education and science.
They say better late than never. So SUPARCO now wants to make Mission 2040 possible, but even if it makes it possible.
Would it really be a big deal at that time?
Speaking of Pakistan’s Space Agency SUPARCO, how about if you visit there website and compare it with the ISRO’s.
Forget space research, Pakistan really needs some good website developers and graphic designers. Here’s the link http://suparco.gov.pk/