The Badr-B (Urdu: بدر-۲; also known as Badr-II, meaning Full Moon-2) is the second spacecraft and the first earth observation satellite launched into Earth orbit on 10 December 2001 at 09:15 by the SUPARCO — Pakistan's national space agency.[2] Badr-B is a microsatellite, with a mass of ~70 kg, and contained the computerized system to conduct the studies on the gravity gradient. Badr-B is a research satellite to explore the upper atmosphere and the near space, and carried a large array of instruments for geophysical research.[2]

Zenit-2 rocket ready for launch.jpg
Badr-B atop a Zenit-2 rocket, before the launch
Mission typeEarth Observation Satellite
Earth science
COSPAR ID2001-056C Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.27003
Mission duration2 years
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerSpace Innovations Limited
Rutherford Laboratory
Instrumentation Laboratory
Launch mass68.5 kilograms (151 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date10 December 2001, 17:18:57 (2001-12-10UTC17:18:57Z) UTC
Launch siteBaikonur 45/1
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Perigee altitude986.0 kilometres (612.7 mi)
Apogee altitude1,014.0 kilometres (630.1 mi)
Inclination99.7 degrees
Period105.0 minutes
Epoch10 December 2001, 12:19:00 UTC[1]

The Badr-B payload was equipped with several CCD cameras, compact dosimeter, a telemetry system, charge detector and a temperature control unit.[2] It is intended to complete and update the Islamabad Mission Control Center (IMCC), and to test the remote sensing CCD instruments.[2]

Launch historyEdit

The Badr-B project was launched by Suparco in 1992, following the success of the Badr-I in 1990.[3] The programme was funded by Science Ministry and the construction of the programme was completed in Instrumentation Laboratories in Karachi. The United Kingdom's Space Innovations Limited, plc (SIL) also joined this programme in 1993 as it had constructed the instrumentation of this satellite.[4] The Badr-B was slightly bigger than the Badr-I as compared to weight and mass.[clarification needed] Most of the equipment was developed at the DESTO and the spacecraft designing took place in Instrumentation Laboratories in Karachi. Space Innovations Limited took contributed technical assistance required for assembling the Badr-B.[4] A Mission control center was established at Islamabad where several supercomputers and its systems were installed by Space Innovations Limited. In 1995, a computer system and the system software was designed and installed by Pakistan Software Export Systems (PSES) while COMSATS helped installing the large computer screen at the Islamabad mission control center.[5] Overall, the work on Badr-B was completed in 1996 by Suparco and it was originally planned to launch from Tilla Launch Complex but it was objected as the country had no launch facility at that time.[5] The CCD cameras were developed by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) who took the interest in the development of the Badr-B in 1995.[4]

Badr-B was developed in 1996 but the delay of Russian space-rocket put the satellite on hold for more than 4 years.[6] Abdul Qadeer Khan unsuccessfully attempted to launch the satellite from the Sonmiani Launch Complex using Ghauri-1 as the transportation vehicle which was denied by the government at that time.[7] In 2001, the Air Force Strategic Command flew the Badr-B to Kazakhstan where it was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome on 10 December 2001 abroad a Ukrainian Zenit-2 rocket.[4]


The economic cost of the Badr-B is not publicly known but it is estimated to be more costly than the first satellite, Badr-I.[6] For its design, the Badar-B is far more complex and sophisticated than the first satellite.[5] The external body of the Badr-B is made of Space grade Aluminium alloy with a total mass of 70 kg.[5] Badr-B was launched in a sun-synchronous orbit of 1050 km with an earth orbital period of 106 minutes.[5] Badr-B is a cube with side dimensions of 510 mm x 510 mm x 465 mm and a gravity gradient vector system to stabilize the satellite to its mission control centre.[5] A typical orbital and terminal pass over to country's space orbit entry would last between 10 and 15 minutes.[5]

Badr-B internal structure was made of space qualified aluminium T-6 alloy.[8] The gallium arsenide (GaAs) solar arrays were used to provide and generate the electronic power during the sunlit periods.[8] The nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries stored power for use during the eclipse periods.[8] Earth pointing single axis stabilization was achieved by the use of a 6 m gravity gradient boom with a trip mass of 4 kg.[8]

Launch plans and site selectionsEdit

The Suparco set its deadline to launch the satellite in 1994 but, due to the satellite being upgraded time passed and Suparco lost the space orbital entry slot.[6] Suparco then planned to Badr-B in 1995 or as early of 1996 but did not materialize the plan.[6] By 1996, Badr-B was completed and was ready to launch but due to upcoming elections in 1997, the plan was put on hold.[6] Since Suparco has no launch complex, it began to hold talks with China and Russia at the lowest rate.[6] In 1998, following the restrictions applied on Pakistan after it had conducted atomic tests (See Chagai-I and Chagai-II), Suparco was unable to launch the satellite, therefore putting the satellite in storage.[5]

Delaying of the satellite's launch programme further frustrated the scientific community, therefore, Government of Pakistan launched the work on Shaheen-III and Ghauri-III expendable rockets in 1998.[5] In 2001, senior scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan approached the Pakistan Government to receive permission to launch the satellite from either Tilla Launch Complex or Sonmiani Launch Complex.[7] However, then-CMLA General Pervez Musharraf denied the request of Khan.[7]

In 2001, the Pakistan Academy of Sciences held the physics and mathematics conference on astrophysics in Pakistan where scientists from all over the country were invited to come to Nathiagali.[9] In a media interview given at Nathiagali, Abdul Qadeer Khan maintained that, "Pakistan has very robust nuclear I.R.B.M. system which can launch geostationary orbiting satellites. All Pakistan has to do is to erase Delhi or Calcutta from the target and point it towards the sky. Instead of Hydrogen bombs and Atomic bombs, the missiles can easily carry a payload of an 80 kg satellite into the sky...".[7] Astrophysicist Shahid Kureshi also argued that [IRBM] missiles have very robust and effective electronics and computer system, the [SLV]s used the similar technology.[9] Taking part in this discussion, Nuclear physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy believed that "If we [Pakistan] can launch a missile up to a range of 1,500 km, why not build an [SLV] that can launch low-atmosphere satellites?".[9]

Abdul Majid, an astrophysicist, countered the pressure in a media interview in 1999 given to Dawn Newspapers, and in his own words, Majid summed up that, "with Meteor-3M (a Soviet satellite), other four satellites one each from [Pakistan], Malaysia, Morocco and the United States are to be mounted on the bigger Russian rocket. It was only the Pakistan's Badr-B satellite which had met the deadline set by the Russians. The deadline was in April. All the other satellites failed to meet the deadline".[5]

Launch and missionEdit

After receiving criticism from the scientific society, the Suparco succeeded in a talks held with Russian Federal Space Agency on a possible low rates.[10] The PAF's Air Force Strategic Command flew the satellite via C-130 Hercules to Kazakhstan. The Badr-B was taken to Baikonur Cosmodrome along with Russian satellites which were also stored for the final assembly.[11] The Badr-B, along with Soviet built Meteor-3M, was installed at the Zenit-2 expandable rocket.[4] A high level delegation of Suparco headed by Major-General Raza Hussain arrived at the Baikonour Cosmodrome to witness the launch.[10] At 17:18UTC, the Badr-B was launched along with Meteor-3M with an ascending node time of about 09:15 [4][11]


The Badr-B conduct four major ob-board experiments, including taking the snap shots of Earth images, and data storage and forwarding to its mission control center.[8] The Badr-B also used the radiation dosimeter to measure the exposure of Sun's ionizing radiation and, also used to study the electromagnetic field of Earth.[8] The Badr-B also conduct studies on charge battery when it is exposed to Solar flare and forwarded Solar winds.[8] Expected results were sent to its mission control center in Islamabad.[8]


Overall, the Badr-B was an ambitious project that was intended to learn and developed the low-cost EOS satellites, and to build the infrastructure for larger satellites.[8] The Badr-B also gave the scientists to understand the usage of technology for earth imaging by using the CCD sensors; it also gave provided the scientists to enhance their studies conducted on how the solar flare effected the environment of Earth.[8] The Badr-B stimulated the research on astrophysics and astroparticle physics that encourage the scientific community to continue their research on peaceful uses of space.[8]

However, its achievements was undermined after Suparco had lost the orbital slot in four consecutive years[9] The onward criticism also undermined Suparco's effort who built this satellite, and due to its long wait, the negative reception was perceived by scientific community.[9] Careful analysis of launch facilities and capabilities doubted if the space programme is on track.[9] With all criticism, in 2002, Suparco began to conduct further studies and launched the more ambitious and complex project which formed the basis derivatives of Press system, later this programme was integrated with Space programme 2040.[12] Under the Space programme 2040, the Badr-B will be replaced with more complex and technologically advanced high-resolution satellite PRSS-O1, which has been launched in 2018.[12]


  1. ^ "NASA - NSSDCA - Spacecraft - Trajectory Details". Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  2. ^ a b c d "Badr-B". SUPARCO's Directorate-General for the Public Relations. SUPARCO and the Government of Pakistan. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  3. ^ SUPARCO, Space Research Commission. "History". SUPARCO. Electronic Government Agency. Archived from the original on 17 April 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Gunter, Wilhelm. "Space Race:Badr-B". Whilhelm Gunter. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Staff Reporter (26 June 1999). "Pakistan's second satellite ready for launch". Dawn News Headlines. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Mumtaz, Ashraf (11 January 1996). "Pakistan to launch second experimental satellite". Dawn Media Group. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d Khan, DEng (Metallurgical Engineering), Professor Abdul Qadeer (2010). Sehar Honay Tak§ Pakistan's space spinoff. Islamabad: Printwise Publications. pp. 41–98.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k SUPARCO. "Badr-B: Configurations". SUPARCO. Space Research Commission. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Reza, Sa`adia (December 1, 2011). "Pakistan risks losing orbital slot if satellite not launched". Dawn News Group of Media. Archived from the original on October 22, 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  10. ^ a b Staff Reporter (15 December 2001). "Satellite Badar-II launched". Wireservice of Dawn. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  11. ^ a b Space daily (December 10, 2011). "Pakistan To Launch Satellite From Russian Pad". Space daily news. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  12. ^ a b SUPARCO. "Remote Sensing Satellites". SUPARCO. SUPARCO of Pakistan. Archived from the original on 13 October 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2011.

NASA linksEdit