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Pakistan Launches First Satellite Moon Mission, iCube Qamar, in Collaboration with China

Islamabad: In a historic milestone for Pakistan’s space exploration, the country has launched its first satellite mission to the moon, iCube Qamar, from Hainan, China.

The launch, conducted aboard China’s Chang’E6 lunar mission, took place today at 2:27 PM Pakistan time, with the event streamed live on the Institute of Space Technology (IST) website.

Dr. Khurram Khurshid, a Core Committee member at IST, confirmed that the satellite is expected to enter lunar orbit within five days and will operate around the moon for three to six months. During its mission, iCube Qamar will capture various images of the lunar surface, enabling Pakistan to gather crucial satellite imagery for scientific research.

The satellite was jointly developed by IST, Shanghai University, and Pakistan’s national space agency SUPARCO, showcasing a significant collaboration between Pakistani and Chinese space technology sectors. ICUBE-Q, a CubeSat, is equipped with two optical cameras designed to conduct detailed lunar surface imaging.

This mission is part of the Chang’E6 project, which is the sixth installment of China’s ambitious lunar exploration initiatives. Chang’E6 aims to make a soft landing on the moon’s far side, a feat not previously accomplished by any other nation, to collect surface samples and return them to Earth for comprehensive analysis.

CubeSats like iCube Qamar are small, cube-shaped satellites that are relatively inexpensive to build and deploy. They are commonly used in low Earth orbit for a variety of purposes including scientific research, technology demonstration, and educational projects.

Pakistan’s involvement in the Chang’E6 mission represents a significant step forward in the country’s space technology capabilities and its ongoing partnership with China in scientific and technological endeavors.

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