Pakistan deferring plans to send astronaut to space by 2022: Fawad
Statesman Report
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s plans to send its first astronaut into space by 2022 have been placed on temporary hold, Science and Technology Minister, Fawad Chaudhry, told Arab News.
Currently, Pakistan has four remote sensing and communications satellites in total– two ground stations and two in orbit. In July 2018, Pakistan launched two satellites with the help of China, and the same year, Chaudhry announced Pakistan was planning on sending its first astronaut on a manned mission by 2022. A contract was subsequently inked between Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) and a Chinese company.
“I think we will not be able to pursue the schedule [of sending astronaut to space] due to COVID-19 and it may be delayed by a year,” Chaudhry told Arab News in an exclusive interview, and added the candidate selection process in collaboration with China had also been delayed.
“The selection process of [choosing a suitable] astronaut was scheduled to begin this year but unfortunately due to the pandemic, the selection process has to be postponed… it was to be initiated with the partnership with China which itself has been badly affected by the coronavirus,” he said.
The science minister’s revelation came just hours before the US attempts to make history with the launch of a newly designed spacecraft by SpaceX and NASA on Saturday.