Islamabad: Pakistan is all set to launch two satellites, including its first remote sensing satellite, in early 2018, Pakistan’s national space agency announced on the occasion of World Space Week 2017.

“Our first optical remote sensing satellite is all set to be launched in 2018” Chairman of Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) Qaiser Anees Khurram announced in Islamabad. The other will be an experimental satellite.

“Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-1) will make Pakistan self-reliant in multi-spectral imaging” thus saving a huge foreign exchange on account of satellite imagery and satellite based monitoring of various national projects. The remote sensing satellite is being built in collaboration with China.

Currently, Pakistan only has one satellite in space. “Our communication satellite Paksat-1R is up and running with efficient provision of communication and broadcast services throughout the country and neighbouring regions.”

Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite is a dual-purpose Earth observational and optical satellite. The observation and information gathered from satellites has proven valuable in economic development and informed decision-making.

Talking to Gulf News, Khurram said: “Remote sensing satellite will have multiple benefits and practical applications, including agriculture, disaster management, urban planning, forestry, water management, weather forecast and other areas.”

Suparco member (Range and Instrumentation), Ayaz Aziz said the country’s national space agency has greatly contributed to Pakistan’s socio-economic paradigm. “Suparco has substantially contributed to natural resource management and environment modelling through glacier monitoring, land cover classification of Pakistan, land information system, national environment information management system.”

The agriculture sector, the back bone of Pakistan’s economy, is being offered active crop estimation programme while the “Risk and Disaster assessment, mitigation and management project are underway,” Aziz said.