China, Pakistan to launch remote sensing satellite in 2 years


China will construct and launch two remote-sensing satellites for foreign countries in the coming two years, an industry insider says.

China Great Wall Industry Corp, the nation’s only company authorized for international space collaboration, will launch Venezuela’s second remote sensing satellite next year and Pakistan’s first remote sensing satellite in 2018, says Fu Zhiheng, vice-president of Great Wall.

The Remote-Sensing Satellite 1 is the second Chinese satellite to be ordered by Pakistan. Before that, China developed the PakSat-1R communications satellite, which was launched in 2011.

Hu Zhongmin, director of the international cooperation department at China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, parent company of Great Wall Industry and China Academy of Space Technology, says the space giant is willing to strengthen exchanges and collaboration with developing countries so space data and technologies can benefit them.

“Under bilateral cooperation frameworks, we are also happy to help them to build their own space capability,” he says.

Hiroki Matsuo, vice-president of the International Academy of Astronautics, says China could share its knowledge and expertise in manned and robotic spaceflight, space-based navigation and data applications with other countries.

“Preparation work for the Venezuelan Remote Sensing Satellite 2 project is proceeding according to schedule. The contract for the Pakistan satellite was signed earlier this year and will be fulfilled in 2018. The two satellites are being developed by the China Academy of Space Technology,” Fu said on the sidelines of an international forum in Beijing on Nov 25.

A total of 180 space officials, diplomats and researchers took part in the Symposium on Space International Cooperation Promoting Economic and Social Development of Developing Country, which was organized by the China International Exchange Center for Astronautical Science and Technology and the International Academy of Astronautics.

Remote-sensing satellites are tasked with forecasting weather, observing Earth, surveying land resources and monitoring oceans.

Fu says some other countries that already use Chinese satellites are also in talks with his company on the procurement of new ones.

“In addition to traditional clients, we pay great attention to finding new customers. For instance, we are striving to tap the space market in the Middle East that is dominated by United States and European firms,” he said. “What I can tell you now is that we have made substantial progress in this region.”

China has exported 11 satellites to nine countries, including Bolivia, Nigeria and Laos, statistics from Great Wall Industry show.

Fu says that Chinese satellites have become popular among developing countries for two reasons: First, they are as reliable as Western models; and second, Great Wall Industry is able to provide solution packages to developing countries covering design, launch, operation and training.

The Venezuelan Remote-Sensing Satellite 2 is the third Chinese satellite designed for the South American country, following the Venesat-1 communications satellite that was launched in 2008 and the Venezuelan Remote-Sensing Satellite 1, launched in 2012.