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Pakistan and Satellite Communication Systems

Pakistan has experimented with basic store/dump communications relays in LEO.

With support from the Pakistan Amateur Radio Society, SUPARCO started building a small amateur radio satellite in late 1986. It was called Badr, after the Urdu language word for "new moon." This first satellite, Badr-1 or Badr-A, was to have launched on the US Space Shuttle, but the plan changed after the 1986 Challenger explosion delayed American flights. SUPARCO's first satellite BADR-A was launched as a secondary payload into low orbit by a Chinese LM-2E booster on 16 July 1990. Originally designed for a nearly circular orbit of 400-500 km, Badr-1 was inserted into an orbit of 205 km by 990 km. Intended to provide technical experience in telemetry, control, transponder and digital communications in preparation for further launches, the 150-lb satellite provided valuable data for 5 weeks After contact with the vehicle ceased on 20 August, all efforts to restore contact with the missing satellite failed. However, during its short mission, the satellite successfully completed store/dump message tests. Badr-A carried a digital communications system patterened on the British amateur radio satellite UO-11 launched in 1984. Badr-1 offered one radio channel for digital store-and-forward communications. Uplink was near 435 MHz, downlink was near 145 MHz, and the telemetry beacon was near 145 MHz. Badr-1's orbit was so low it reentered the Earth's atmosphere after 146 days, on 09 December 1990.

Although Pakistan has expressed an interest to develop a GEO communications system, the country is still several years away from deploying the first satellite. The Pakistan GEO constellation is being designed with a capacity of 4,800 long distance telephone channels, 2,400 rural circuits, and two direct broadcast television channels in the 14/11 GHz band. PAKSAT GEO locations near 38 degrees E and 41 degrees E are planned (References 221-222).


221. S. Mehmud, "Pakistan's Space Programme", Space Policy, August 1989, p. 217-226.

222. P. Proctor, "Pakistan's Space Agency Building Second Experimental Satellite", Aviation Week and Space Technology, 10 August 1992, p. 46.

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