Pakistan and China on Friday signed an agreement for a loan to set up the ground control system for a joint communications satellite to be launched next year.
Pakistan's Ambassador to China Masood Khan signed the loan agreement with the Exim Bank of China for the Paksat-1R satellite's ground control project in Beijing, an official statement said. Paksat-1R will be launched on August 14 next year to replace the current communications satellite Paksat 1.
A contract for the satellite was signed between Pakistan's Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and China Great Wall Industry Corporation in October 2008.
The contract for the ground control project was signed in October last year during Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's visit to China. A framework loan agreement between the two governments was signed in June. Under the agreement, China will provide a concessional loan of RMB 86.5 million for the ground control project.
Ambassador Khan said the agreement has further promoted Pakistan-China cooperation in science and technology and the satellite will become a symbol of the friendship between the two countries.
Once it is completed, the project will bring immense economic benefits to Pakistan, he said.
Pakistan and China have a long history of space technology cooperation.
Pakistan's first low orbit satellite, Badr-1, was launched by China in 1990. The two countries have continued to enhance their cooperation in peaceful applications of space technology under an agreement signed in 1991.