National Points of Contact
Welcome to the national page of SGAC Pakistan. This page contains details about space-related activities in Pakistan, and also contains links to national organizations and volunteer groups that are engaged in such activities. SGAC Pakistan intends to invoke the interest of the general public towards space and space applications by forming connections with national societies and community-wide efforts that are popularizing and appraising people about space and its applications for human development.
The national space agency, Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), has the mandate to conduct research & development activities in space science/technology and related fields in the country. Of the many programs currently going on at SUPARCO, one of the recent achievements is the geostationary satellite Paksat-1R which was launched in 2011, located at geostationary orbit slot 38° E. Paksat-1R is a communications satellite, operated, managed, and controlled by Pakistan. PAKSAT-1R is serving TV broadcasters, cellular operators, internet & data service providers and government organizations across South Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. The next major project, that of a high-resolution remote sensing satellite, is currently under development, and is planned to be launched by 2016. SUPARCO has also recently established the Space Application Center for Response in Emergency & Disasters (SACRED) for disaster management and mitigation using space technologies. The SACRED center is the Regional Support Office (RSO) of United Nations Platform for Space Based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) in Pakistan. The first university cubesat from Pakistan, “iCUBE-1” has been developed and launched in Nov., 2013 by the Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad. Pakistan’s first remote sensing satellite is planned to be launched in 2019.
Young Space Activities Overview
In Pakistan, in addition to the opportunities provided by SGAC, many space-related activities are organized by various organizations and institutions. These include government organizations like SUPARCO, academic institutes like IST, and volunteer organizations such as the Khwarizmi Science Society, Pakistan Astronomical Society, Karachi Astronomers Society, and Lahore Astronomy Society. Many of these organizations focus their activities at the national level during the World Space Week (WSW). This year again, the WSW was celebrated actively with the theme of “Remote Sensing – Enabling Our Future”, and many space-awareness activities were held for participating young people. Many young students, up to high school level, participated in these activities organized by different organizations. The WSW event at IST was directly linked with SGAC, as the NPoC Dr. Waqas Qazi provided input regarding the events and also assisted in defining the overall vision and conduct of the event. The details of WSW activities organized by IST in 2016 can be seen here (http://www.ist.edu.pk/wsw/2016), and overall information about WSW activities organized by SUPARCO can be seen here.
The NASA International Space Apps Challenge event has been held in Islamabad, Pakistan now for the third consecutive year. The International Space Apps Challenge is a weekend-hackhaton that is run on the same dates at different locations in the world, where people “across the globe collaborate and engage with publicly available data to design innovative solutions for global challenges.” In 2014, the first-time Islamabad event was held at FAST National University, Islamabad, in which the SGAC NPoC for Pakistan, Dr. Waqas A. Qazi, delivered a guest lecture at the opening ceremony, and also served as a judge for the event. In 2015, this event was held at the Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad and was sponsored by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). One of the marked features of this event was the volunteering by mentors from academia and industry related to space technologies and space applications, which was well appreciated by the participating teams. In 2016, this event was again held at IST. SGAC NPoC for Pakistan, Dr. Waqas A. Qazi, represented SGAC and took part in the 2015 and 2016 events as a mentor. IST is committed to hosting this event regularly in the future on a bigger scale and SGAC will be partnering in the future with the event through its NPoCs.
GIS (Geographic Information Systems) day was celebrated at various educational and professional organizations in the month of November, with organized lectures, talks, and panel discussions. The Institute of Geo-Information and Earth Observation (IGEO) has been initiated this year in the Pir Mehar Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, offering degrees in remote sensing and GIS at BS, MS, and PhD levels. The Astronomy & Astrophysics program at the Dept. of Space Science, Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad got a boost by the establishment of an observatory which undergraduate students are using for observational astronomy and their undergraduate projects. Two major conferences related to space activities were held this year: The International Conference on Space 2016 (ICS 2016) in Islamabad, and the 4th National Conference on Space Science & Technology in Karachi, which all brought together the many students and professionals of the Pakistani space community. Both SGAC NPoCs were present in ICS 2016 and represented SGAC through talks and panel discussions. Many workshops and short courses related to space applications were held this year. Some of these workshops held at the Institute of Space Technology were: Workshop on Data Analysis Methods for Remote Sensing & Geographic Information Science using MATLAB, 2nd Summer School on Earth Remote Sensing with Synthetic Aperture Radar, Satellite Altimetry & Hydrological Applications.
Country-Specific Space Events in 2017
April – NASA International Space Apps Challenge – The International Space Apps Challenge is a weekend-hackhaton that is run on the same dates at different locations in the world, where people across the globe collaborate and engage with publicly available data to design innovative solutions for global challenges. – Islamabad
October – World Space Week – World Space Week is an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition. The United Nations General Assembly declared in 1999 that World Space Week will be held each year in October.
December – Buraq Space Camp – Annual space camp for high school students with the motto of changing perceptions through visions of space.
January – Workshop on Data Analysis Methods for Remote Sensing & Geographic Information Science using MATLAB – GREL, IST, Islamabad
August – 3rd Summer School on Earth Remote Sensing with Synthetic Aperture Radar – GREL, IST, Islamabad
August – International Conference on Aerospace Science & Engineering (ICASE) – IST, Islamabad
Interesting Web Links/Resources for the Young Generation in Pakistan
Groups, People, Mailing Lists
Pakistan Amateur Astronomers Society
Khwarizmi Science Society
Karachi Astronomers Society: Mailing List
Lahore Astronomical Society: Facebook page, Mailing List
Pakistan Astronomical Society-Islamabad: Mailing List
Umair Asim’s Observatory
iCUBE-1, Pakistan’s first Cubesat
Institute of Space Technology (IST), Islamabad
Geospatial Research & Education Lab (GREL), IST, Islamabad
Department of Space Science, University of Punjab, Lahore
Center for Geographic Information System, University of the Punjab, Lahore
Air University, Islamabad
Institute of Space & Planetary Astrophysics, University of Karachi, Karachi
Dept. of Aerospace Engineering, NUST
Institute of Geographical Information Systems (IGIS), NUST, Islamabad
Dept. of Meteorology, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad
Astronomical Observatory, University of Punjab
KU Observatory, Karachi University
Astronomical Observatory, Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad
Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO)
Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GSISC)
SUPARCO World Space Week 2015 Guidebook
SUPARCO Space Information Booklet 2015
SUPARCO Out of This World 2011
SUPARCO One Small Step – To Guide Children about Space