Saturday, May 04, 2024

Pakistan's First Moon Mission Launched aboard China's Chang'e-6 Lunar Probe

Pakistan's First Moon Mission Launched aboard China's Chang'e-6 Lunar Probe

Pakistan launched its groundbreaking lunar mission aboard China's Chang'e-6 lunar probe on Friday, May 3, 2024. The Chinese probe blasted off atop a Long March-5 Y8 carrier rocket from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China's Hainan Province, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The ICUBE-Q CubeSat satellite, designed and developed by Pakistan's Institute of Space Technology (IST) in collaboration with China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) and Pakistan's national space agency, SUPARCO, represents a milestone in space cooperation.

The launch was broadcast live on the Institute of Space Technology's website and media channels, with viewers worldwide to witnessing history in the making. For the many young students aspiring to explore the unknown, this historic day signifies that their dream is about to come true.

"It all started from my childhood, basically, it looks really fascinated when I looked at the moon continuously walking with us, and I usually stare at the moon from my rooftop," said Malaika Khursheed, a student at the Institute of Space Technology.

The ICUBE-Q is among the first nano-satellites to travel into deep space. It is also the first satellite collaboration mission between Pakistan and China as well as the universities.

So it is a symbol of mutual trust, and youngsters' exploration of the moon.

"At the moment of the launch of the Pakistan and SJTU CubeSat, I'm very delighted to be part of this momentous occasion and I can't wait to watch the launch," said Chen Ye, a student from Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

In March, students from Shanghai Jiao Tong University arrived in Pakistan to meet and train with their fellow Pakistani students. The Chinese team brought a copy of the satellite to Pakistan. It was the only time that both teams met and interacted. And Pakistani researchers spoke highly of the cooperation.

"Collaboration with China is really significant, it signifies global cooperation," said Syed Azish Ali Bukhari, a communication engineer and a research fellow at the IST.

"It truly gives a big boost to our young people so that they can look forward to such projects and even more complex and bigger projects in the future," said Qamar Ul Islam, director of the Space System Lab of IST.

CubeSats, renowned for their compact design and versatility, have transformed space exploration, empowering universities, research institutions, and commercial ventures to participate in cutting-edge missions at a fraction of the cost.

This collaborative endeavor underscores the deepening ties between Pakistan and China in the pursuit of scientific discovery beyond Earth's bounds.

The Chang'e-6 mission's primary objective is to gather samples from the far side of the moon, marking the first-ever attempt to gather samples from this region of the moon.

Video Credit: China Central Television (CCTV)

Duration: 2 minutes

Release Date: May 3, 2024

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