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Pakistan to get Earth imaging satellite from China in 2018

Photograph courtesy of Pakistan Defence.
Photograph courtesy of Pakistan Defence.

China Great Wall Industry Corporation announced on 26 November 2016 that it is making inroads into the Middle East’s Earth observation satellite market, and that the remote sensing satellite it is building for Pakistan will be launched in 2018.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Symposium on Space International Cooperation Promoting Economic and Social Development of Developing Countries organised by the China International Exchange Center for Astronautical Science and Technology and the International Academy of Astronautics in Beijing, Fu Zhiheng, Vice-President of China Great Wall Industry Corporation, said that his company had signed the contract with Pakistan for an Earth observation satellite earlier this year.

The China Great Wall Industry Corporation is the only Chinese company authorised to sell Chinese space hardware to foreign entities.

Fu Zhiheng also said that the Middle East remote sensing satellite market also offers China Great Wall Industry Corporation with new opportunities. “In addition to traditional clients, we pay great attention to finding new customers. For instance, we are striving to tap the space market in the Middle East that is dominated by the United States and European firms. What I can tell you now is that we have made substantial progress in this region,” said Fu, without giving further details.

As well as building and launching an Earth observation satellite for Pakistan in 2018, China Great Wall Industry Corporation is also building and launching a new Earth observation satellite for Venezuela in 2017, and has also built and launched satellites for Nigeria, Bolivia, and Laos, among others.

“Under bilateral cooperation frameworks, we are also happy to help [other countries] built their own space capability,” said Hu Zhongmin, Director of the International Cooperation Department at the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the parent company of China Great Wall Industry Corporation.

The Earth observation satellite being built by China Great Wall Industry Corporation will be the second satellite built for Pakistan. In 2011, China Great Wall Industry Corporation launched the PakSat-1R communications satellite that it had built for Islamabad.

Earlier in 2016 Egypt expressed interest in a French high-resolution imaging satellite, but apparently balked at the cost. It subsequently emerged that Cairo has been looking at cheaper alternatives from Russia, South Korea, and China Great Wall Industry Corporation.

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