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Pakistan's first-ever moon mission set to launch on China's Wings

By News   Desk

Pakistan's debut lunar satellite mission was launched on Friday onboard China's Chang'e-6 lunar probe, which aims to collect samples from the far side of the Moon for the first time in human history.

The 53-day-long Chang'e-6 mission will bring back lunar samples from the far side of the Moon for scientific studies. This marks the first time China has included an orbiter from its all-weather ally Pakistan in its lunar exploration endeavors.

According to the Institute of Space Technology (IST), Pakistan's ICUBE-Q satellite has been designed and developed by IST in collaboration with China's Shanghai University SJTU and Pakistan's national space agency Suparco.

The ICUBE-Q orbiter carries two optical cameras to image the lunar surface. While the Chang'e-6 mission is tasked with collecting and returning samples from the far side of the Moon to Earth, a historic first in lunar exploration.

Following the launch, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif congratulated the nation and scientists for this significant achievement, calling the ICUBE-Q satellite Pakistan's first step into space.

"This achievement will bolster Pakistan's satellite communication capabilities and pave the way for new opportunities in scientific research, economic development, and national security," Sharif said in a statement.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar also lauded the launch, highlighting it as a "good example of countries and organizations coming together for space cooperation and shared benefits."

Quoting an IST Core Committee member, local media reported that the CubeSat Satellite iCUBE-Q will reach the lunar orbit in five days and will circle the Moon for three to six months, capturing images of the lunar surface for research purposes.

CubeSats are miniature satellites typically characterized by their small size and standardized design, often weighing no more than a few kilograms. They are deployed in space for various scientific, technological, and educational purposes.