Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani believes cooperation in space technology and its applications will take his country’s strong relationship with China to new heights, as illustrated by China’s assistance with the Paksat-1R communications satellite project, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported Nov. 5.

Speaking at a ceremony at the Paksat-1R ground control center in Lahore, Gilani said the satellite’s success marks the first significant step toward realizing his country’s Space Vision 2040 plan, which aims to boost socioeconomic development and national security through space technologies. Paksat-1R, launched Aug. 12 from the Xichang satellite launch center in southwest China, is functioning perfectly well in orbit, Gilani said.

“I am sure that with the help of our Chinese friends, we will be able to make good progress in harnessing space technologies and realizing the goals set in Space Vision 2040,” he said.