Chinese-built Paksat-1R To Include Pakistani Payloads

by

Pakistan’s Paksat-1R telecommunications satellite, being built by the Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST), will include four piggyback payloads to test Pakistani-made satellite subsystems as part of a long-term plan toward self-reliance in satellite manufacturing, Paksat-1R program manager RiazSuddle said Dec. 9.

In a presentation to the Global Space Technology Forum in Abu Dhabi, Suddle said Paksat-1R, a Chinese DFH-4 platform to be launched in late 2011 aboard a Chinese Long March rocket, will include Pakistani hardware to be tested in orbit without being vital to Paksat-1R’s functioning.

The gear is being developed for Pakistan’s Suparco space agency and includes an on-board data-handling payload and a power-distribution system, as well as a telemetry package. The Pakistan-provided payload has a weight limit of 50 kilograms and a power requirement of no more than 300 watts, Suddle said.

The satellite will be operated from two nearly identical control centers located in Lahore and Karachi by Paksat International, a Suparco subsidiary that since 2002 has operated the Paksat-1 telecommunications satellite at 38 degrees east. Paksat-1, launched in 1996 and owned by Indonesian and then Turkish satellite operators, is now using 23 of its transponders to provide Pakistan television. Paksat-1 was the subject of an insurance claim by its earlier owners following an anomaly that limits its batteries’ ability to hold a charge.

Paksat-1 is scheduled to be retired in 2011, and Pakistan intends to retain its access to the 38-degree-east orbital slot by making sure Paksat-1R is launched before or soon after Paksat-1 is removed from service.

Paksat-1R will deliver 7 kilowatts of power to its payload at the end of its 15-year orbital life and will carry 12 C-band transponders for broadcasts to Pakistan, the Middle East and Africa. Eighteen Ku-band transponders will be reserved mainly for Pakistani national telecommunications purposes, Suddle said.

Pakistan launched two small telecommunications demonstration satellites in 1990 and 2001 and views Paksat-1R as further advancing Pakistan’s goal of being able to produce its own telecommunications spacecraft.

Repeating a formula it used to win satellite telecommunications manufacturing contracts in Nigeria and Venezuela, CAST bundled together a Chinese government-backed loan, a launch aboard China’s Long March rocket and insurance coverage to win the Paksat 1R order in 2008.