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The display of Badr-I, prior to its launch.
Mission type Technology
Operator SUPARCO
COSPAR ID 1990-059A
SATCAT № 20685
Website .asp/badr1/
Mission duration 35 days achieved
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer Instrumentation Laboratories
Amateur Radio Society
Telecommunications Ministry
Ministry of Science
Launch mass 52 kilograms (115 lb)
Power 12.5 watts
Start of mission
Launch date 16 July 1990, 00:40 (1990-07-16T00:40Z) UTC
Rocket Chang Zheng 2E
Launch site Xichang LC-2
End of mission
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Decay date 8 December 1990
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Eccentricity 0.056125
Perigee 201.0 kilometres (124.9 mi)
Apogee 984.0 kilometres (611.4 mi)
Inclination 28.4 degrees
Period 96.3 minutes

Badr-1 (Urdu: بدر-۱‎, meaning New Moon-1) was the first artificial and the first digital communication satellite launched by Pakistan's supreme national space authority — the SUPARCO — in 1990.[1] The Badr-I was Pakistan's first indigenously developed and manufactured digital communications and an experimental artificial satellite which was launched into low Earth orbit by Pakistan on July 16, 1990, through a Chinese rocket carrier.[2] The launch ushered in new military, technological, and scientific developments in Pakistan and also provided data on radio-signal distribution in the ionosphere.[2] Originally planned to be launched from the United States in 1986, the Challenger disaster furthered delayed the launch of the satellite which changed the plan. After People's Republic of China offered Pakistan to use its facility, the Badr-I was finally launched XLSC in 1990 through Long March 2E (LM2E). It was also the first flight of LM2E for carrying the spacecraft into the orbit.[2] Badr-I traveled at 61,500 miles per hour, taking 96.3 minutes to complete an orbit, and emitting radio signals at 145 to 435 MHz which were operated by Pakistan Amateur Radio Society (PARS).[1] The Badr-I successfully completed its designed life, and a new satellite was proposed to developed.[1]


  • Before the launch 1
  • Design 2
  • Launch vehicle preparation and launch site selection 3
  • Launch and mission 4
  • Achievement 5
  • Mission goals 6
  • Technical configuration 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Before the launch

The history of the Badr-1 project dated back to 1979, when ISRO successfully launched her first satellite, Rohini on August 13, 1979.[3] On December 13, 1979, Munir Ahmad Khan managed a cabinet-level meeting with Chief Martial Law Administrator General Zia-ul-Haq and gained Suparco's status as an executive authority. In 1981, Salim Mehmud addressed Munir Ahmad Khan proposing the development of an Earth-orbiting artificial satellite, the task previously achieved by India.[3] Munir Ahmad Khan took the matter to General Zia-ul-Haq who gave approval of this project. As part of the development of this project, Suparco sent hundreds of engineers to University of Surrey to participate in the development of UO-11 which was launched in 1984.[4] After participating in various projects with University of Surrey, the team returned to Pakistan in 1986.[4] Munir Ahmad Khan then returned to General Zia-ul-Haq and obtained his approval to began practical work on Badr-I.[3] The project was started by Suparco's Dr. Salim Mehmud as director of the project and was supported by the members of Pakistan Amateur Radio Society.[4] The Suparco began building the satellite at the Instrumentation Laboratories (IL).[4] This project was called "Project Badr" and the Project Badr was initially funded financially by Ministry of Telecommunications and the Ministry of Science.[4] In short span of time, the Project Badr was completed, and the first satellite was named Badr-1.[4]


The technical director of Badr-I was dr. Salim Mehmud, Director of Suparco. The satellite was slightly bigger than Soviet Sputnik 1 satellite in size.[2] The Badr-1 was an indigenously built and developed satellite of Pakistan.[2] The major contractor was Instrumentation Laboratories and the Pakistan Amateur Radio Society, supported by Ministry of Science and the Ministry of Telecommunications.[2] The satellite shaped as a polyhedron with 26 surfaces or facets, was about 20 inches in diameter.[2] The polyhedrons, covered with highly polished heat shield, made of aluminium-magnesium-titanium. The satellite carried two antennas designed by Instrumentation Laboratories. The power supply, with a mass of 52 kg. The satellite was powered with solar power panels with a 12.5 W electricity.[2] The satellite was designed in SUPARCO Satellite Control Center at Lahore. The satellite had one radio channel for digital store-and-forward communications.[2]

A transponder uplink was near 435MHz, and the downlink was near 145 MHz. The telemetry beacon was near 145 MHz. Data from 32 telemetry channels, including information from 9 temperature sensors, 16 current sensors, and 5 voltage sensors, was stored in an 8k memory bank and transmitted at 1200, 600, 300 and 150 baud.[2] Originally designed for a circular orbit at 250–300 miles altitude, Badr-1 actually was inserted by the Long March rocket into an elliptical orbit of 127–615 miles. The cost of development and preparation of satellite was no more than Rs. 1.2 million.[2]

Launch vehicle preparation and launch site selection

Badr-I was launched through Long March 2E.

The Suparco negotiated with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the launch of the satellite and approval required from the United States Government for the launch of the Badr-I. The Air Force Strategic Command decided to flew the satellite by using one of its C-130 aircraft in 1986 to Florida, United States. The Delta 3000 was selected by NASA's administration as its launch vehicle. Preparation was made and its crew and satellite was stored at the aircraft, however, it was delayed due to unknown reasons. The Badr-I was never shipped to United States and its launch was delayed for until next four years. As aftermath of the Challenger disaster in 1986, the United States Government and NASA had halt all the flights of the rockets carrying spacecraft and satellite payloads until the investigations were thoroughly completed. The satellite was stored at the Instrumentation Laboratories (IL) and Suparco began to negotiate with other space powers. In 1990, representatives of Chinese government offered Government of Pakistan to launch the satellite on one of its Long March Rockets and its facility. Suparco did not want to wait any longer, therefore, the Air Force Strategic Command flew the satellite, in sub-assembly form, to People's Republic of China. The satellite was re-assembled by Air Force Strategic Command and Suparco's official who visited the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The satellite was load at the Launch Area 2 and final preparations were made. The Chinese Government used Long March 2E, a three-stage orbital carrier rocket designed to commercial communications satellites, to launch the Badr-I who also took its first maiden flight with the launch of Badr-I in July 16, 1990.

Launch and mission

On July 16, 1990, the Badr-I was launched as a secondary payload on a Long March 2E rocket from Area No. 2 at XSLC. Badr-1, a low earth orbit satellite, circled the Earth's orbit every 96 minutes, passing over Pakistan for 15 minutes three to four times a day. Scientists, engineers, technicians, and designers who developed the satellite watched the launch from range. They waited about 93 minutes to ensure that the satellite had made one orbit and was transmitting, before dr. M. Shafi Ahmad called Prime minister Benazir Bhutto. The downlink telemetry included data on temperatures inside and on the surface of the sphere. The satellite itself, a small but highly polished polyhedron, was barely visible at sixth magnitude, and thus more difficult to follow optically. The satellite completed its designated life successfully.[2] On the first orbit, the Suparco globally announced the launch of the satellite, and the Science ministry confirmed the launch of the satellite. As the satellite completed its life, a new project was launched, more ambitious, advanced, and difficult than Badr-I. However even after the Badr-II was completed, the satellite could not be able to launch until 2001.


With the successful development and launch of the Badr-I, Pakistan became the first Muslim country, and second South Asian country after India, to place a satellite in orbit.[2] The satellite gave Pakistani scientists an academic, scientific, and an amateur community experience in telemetry, tracking, control and data communications as the satellite successfully completed store and dump message tests for 5 weeks.[2]

Despite the international success gained, the Pakistans’ accomplishments were kept quiet in the homeland to prevent any exploitation of their failures or loss of secrets, which undermined the propaganda opportunity. The Pakistan Television, a state-controlled media authority, announced the first launch in televisions never made a headline, and only fewer details were projected. The Badr-I crushed the global perception that the country had not space program, and the space program was only dedicated to its military applications. The launch of the satellite united the people of Pakistan, and scientists who were involved in this project, were bestowed with national honors in public, and increased the pride of Pakistan.

The satellite formed the derivatives and the basis of the Badr-B satellite.[2] The Badr-B was more sophisticated than Badr-l, with a CCD camera for pictures of Earth and a system that allowed ground stations to change the satellite's direction in space.[2]

Mission goals

  • acquiring know-how for indigenous development of satellites
  • creating an infrastructure for future satellite development activities
  • testing the performance of indigenously developed satellite subsystems in space environment
  • performing experiments in real-time voice and data communications between two user ground stations
  • demonstrating store-and-forward type message communication
  • educating the country's academic, scientific and amateur community in the tracking and use of low-earth-orbiting satellites

Technical configuration

Structure 26-Facet polyhedron
Thermal Design passive
Mass 52 kg
Solar Panels 17 square facets
Average Conditioned Power 12.5 watts
Down Link VHF
Up Link UHF
Telemetry Channels 32
Sensors temperature, current, voltage
Data Transmission Rates 1200,600,300,150 baud
DCE Memory Bank 8 kilobyte
Launch Date July 16, 1990
Reentry Date December 9, 1990

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Pakistan Space Program". Aerospace Guide: Pakistan Space Programme. Aerospace Guide. Sunday 10th, July, 2011. Retrieved 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "BADR-1 Pakistan's First Experimental Satellite". Online Induction. Retrieved 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c  
  4. ^ a b c d e f  

External links

  • Official SUPARCO site
  • Space Today writeup
  • ARRL site
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