First Pakistani astronaut will go into space in 2022

Pakistan will send a human to space for the first time in 2022 with China’s help, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced Thursday, ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden visit to Beijing.

The plan to send astronauts on a space mission in 2022 was approved during a federal cabinet meeting chaired by PM Khan.

The premier is embarking on his first visit to China on November 3 and will hold meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, according to the Foreign Office.

An agreement between Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and a Chinese company has already been signed, the information minister said.

Earlier this year, Pakistan launched two indigenously built satellites into orbit, using a Chinese launch vehicle. In 2016, both the countries had signed an agreement for the development of Pakistan’s first ever remote sensing satellite system (PRSS-1). In lieu of this agreement, China has collaborated with the launch of two satellites to Pakistan on its Long March-2C rocket to look over the CPEC projects.

PRSS-1 will be helpful in surveying land and resources, urban construction, watching over natural disasters, agricultural research, and the provision of remote sensing information for the areas encompassed under Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The second satellite is PAK-TES-1A, which will also serve the nation’s needs.