Pakistan’s historic lunar mission to be launched on May 03

Pakistan’s historic lunar mission, ICUBE-Q, is scheduled for launch on May 3 aboard China’s Chang’e 6 lunar probe from Hainan, China, announced the Institute of Space Technology (IST) on Tuesday.

Developed in collaboration with China’s Shanghai University SJTU and Pakistan’s national space agency SUPARCO, the ICUBE-Q orbiter boasts two optical cameras to image the lunar surface and has been integrated with the Chang’e 6 mission after successful qualification and testing.

Chang’e 6, part of China’s lunar exploration missions, aims to touch down on the Moon’s far side to collect samples from the surface for research purposes. The launch event will be broadcast live on the IST website and social media platforms.

Of significance to Pakistan, the ICUBE-Q mission will carry a Pakistan cubeSat satellite developed by IST. CubeSats, known for their small size and standardised design, are widely used for scientific research, technology development, and educational initiatives in space exploration. They offer cost-effective opportunities for various missions such as Earth observations, remote sensing, atmospheric research, and technology demonstration.

CubeSats serve as platforms for testing new technologies and concepts, enabling broader participation in space missions by universities, research institutions, and commercial entities. With their compact size and relatively low cost, CubeSats promote collaboration within the space community and facilitates scientific advancement and innovation.

In August last year, India achieved a historic milestone by landing a craft near the Moon’s south pole, marking a significant triumph for its space program.

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