Mission typeGeosynchronous and Communication
OperatorPakistan Space Research Commission
COSPAR ID2011-042A
SATCAT no.37779
Mission duration12 years
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass5,115 kilograms (11,277 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch date11 August 2011, 16:15:04 (2011-08-11UTC16:15:04Z) UTC[2]
RocketChang Zheng 3B
Launch siteXichang LC-2
Entered service2011
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Longitude38° east[3]
Perigee altitude35,778 kilometres (22,231 mi)
Apogee altitude35,805 kilometres (22,248 mi)
Inclination0.03 degrees
Period23.93 hours
Epoch24 December 2013, 23:02:29 UTC[4]
Band12 C-band
18 Ku-band

PakSat-1R (or PakSat-1 Replacement) is an advanced geosynchronous and communications satellite that was manufactured by China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC)[5] and operated by the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco), an executive space authority of the government of Pakistan.[6]

The PakSat-1R was developed and built as a geostationary telecommunications satellite and was launched from Xichang, China, at 16:15 UTC on 11 August 2011.[2] Launched on the Long March 3B rocket, the satellite has a design life of 15 years with initial goals to provide broadband internet access, digital television broadcasting, remote and rural telephony, emergency communications, tele-education and tele-medicine services across South and Central Asia, Eastern Europe, East Africa and the Far East. The satellite successfully took over the operations of its predecessor, the PakSat-1E satellite leased by Pakistan, in geostationary orbit at 38° East.[7][8]


In December 2001, the Suparco negotiated to lease the Palapa-C1 satellite and designated it as PakSat-1E in an attempt to avert the orbital slot crises. It was acquired after an anomaly in the electrical system of the satellite on 24 November 1998. A module for controlling the hydro accumulators had failed and an American contractor, Hughes Global Services (HGS), managed to develop a strategy that allowed the continued use of the satellite in geostationary orbit. The satellite was eventually leased by Pakistan as PakSat-1E at 38°East in geostationary orbit and had been active since April 2004. During this time, the Suparco began developing the geosynchronous satellite to replacing the aging PakSat-1E as part of the new space policy announced by the Government of Pakistan in 2008.


In 2008, a prototype of PAKSAT-IR was developed by Suparco at its Satellite Research and Development Centre (SRDC) in Lahore.[9] The project was aimed to enhance the knowledge and technical expertise of young scientists and engineers about communications satellite engineering.[9] The PakSat-1R prototype has three C-band Transponders as the communication payload. All the subsystems have been designed and developed locally in Pakistan.[9] System integration and testing have also been performed. SUPARCO reported that the project was completed in three years.[9]

Manufacture and launch

The PakSat-1R was developed by the China Great Wall Industry Corporation and financial funding came from the Chinese government.[10] Before launching the satellite spent around 18 days undergoing laboratory tests in China.[11] The PakSat-1R was launched on 11 August 2011 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province, China, by a Long March 3B/E (Chang Zheng-3B/E) launch vehicle. In 2010, China provided loans for setting up communication facilities at the SUPARCO Satellite Ground Station.[12]


The Paksat-1R satellite is based on the DFH-4 platform, with a launch mass around 5,200 kg. The satellite will be positioned at 38.0 degrees East, replacing the Paksat-1 (23779 1996-006A), which was launched as Palapa-C on 31 January 1996, by an Atlas-IIAS (AC-126) from Cape Canaveral's LC-36B launch complex. Paksat-1R was manufactured by the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), after being ordered in 15 October 2008 – with a contract signed with the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC). The PakSat-1R contract was the third communications satellite contract signed by China's space industry with international customers. It is also China's first satellite in-orbit delivery contract signed with an Asian customer.

The satellite will support all conventional and modern Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) applications, with a total of up to 30 transponders: 18 in Ku-band and 12 in C-band. To ensure high degree of reliability/availability of the system, two fully redundant Satellite Ground Control Stations (SGCS) were established in Karachi and Lahore, one to act as the Main and the other as Backup respectively.

The DFH-4 (DongFangHong-4) platform is a large telecommunications satellite platform – a new generation of hardware based on high output power and communication capacity, ranking alongside international advanced satellite platforms. The applications for the DFH-4 platform aren’t limited to high capacity broadcast communication satellites and can be used to tracking and data relay satellites, regional mobile communication satellites, etc. The platform comprises propulsion module, service module and solar array. It has a payload capacity of 588 kg and an output power of 10.5 kW by the end of its lifetime. Its design lifetime is 15 years and its reliability by the end of its lifetime is more than 0.78.

Based on versatility, inheritance, expandability and promptness principles and mature technology, the platform will meet the needs of international and domestic large communication satellite markets. The satellite is equipped with three receiver antennas and two transmission antennas. It can support the transmission of 150-200 TV programs simultaneously to ground users using a 0.45m antenna device.[13]


PAKSAT-1R was launched at 2117 hours on 11 August 2011 aboard China's Long March 3B (CZ-3B) Satellite Launch Vehicle from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China's Sichuan Province.[8]

The launch was witnessed by, among others, Pakistan's Secretary Defence, Lt. Gen. Syed Athar Ali (R), Secretary Foreign Affairs, Salman Bashir, Director General, Strategic Plans Division, Lt. Gen. Khalid Ahmed Kidwai (R) and the Ambassador of Pakistan to China, Muhammad Masood Khan.[8]


The reception perceived in the Pakistan science community and the country at large was generally positive.[14] However, leading scientists in Pakistan criticised Suparco for not being able to launch the satellite from Pakistan's Flight Space Center and questions were raised whether the space programme is on the right track.[14] In a press release, Suparco dismissed the concerns and maintained that the program is being directed on its right direction.[14] Commenting on the launch of the satellite, The Tribune wrote that what Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) achieved could have been done 30 years earlier.[14]


  1. ^ "PakSat-1R".
  2. ^ a b McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  3. ^ "UCS Satellite Database". Union of Concerned Scientists. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  4. ^ Peat, Chris (24 December 2013). "PAKSAT 1R - Orbit". Heavens Above. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  5. ^ "PakSat-1R Program --- In-Orbit Delivery Program --- CGWIC".
  6. ^ Staff officer; Space Research Commission (11 August 2011). "PakSat IR" (PDF). Space Research Commission. The Directorate-General for Public Relations and Media services of the Space Research Commission. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 April 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ a b c "Pakistan's first Communications Satellite PAKSAT-1R launched". DAWN.COM. 11 August 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d "Development Programmes: PakSat-IR Prototype" (Webcache). SUPARCO. Press Release. 11 March 2008.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Siddiqui, Salman (1 August 2012). "Lagging behind: 2040 - Pakistan's space od[d]yssey". the Express Tribune.
  11. ^ "China backs Pak moves to safeguard its security". Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  12. ^ "China provides loan for satellite ground control segment". The Nation. 30 October 2010. p. 1. Archived from the original on 2 November 2010.
  13. ^ "China debuts partnership with Pakistan – Long March launches Paksat-1R". Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  14. ^ a b c d Siddiqui, Salman (12 August 2011). "PAKSAT-1R: China launches Pakistan's first GEO communications satellite". The Express Tribune. Karachi, Sindh Province of Pakistan: Century Publications. p. 1. Retrieved 12 October 2011.

External links

  • PAKSAT Official Website
  • Pakistan's PAKSAT-R
  • Pakistan’s first satellite to be launched in April 2011
  • PAKSAT-1R Prototype
  • PAKSAT-1R launch date
  • SUPARCO to launch Paksat 1R satellite
  • New communication satellite ‘PakSat-1R’ important for many reasons: Khan
  • Pakistan’s first Communications Satellite PAKSAT-1R launched