During the Cold War, achievements in outer space were viewed as a symbol of power. For instance, when the Soviet Union broadcasted its first ever man-made satellite, Sputnik, in 1957, the world took notice. Likewise, the US followed suit and won the race by achieving mankind’s first landing on the moon through the Apollo Mission. Since then things have changed, today, countries link their outer space programs to their economic development and diplomatic influence on Earth. Pakistan is also entering a new era of advancement after its most successful and advanced nuclear deterrent and missile system programs. China launched two satellites for Pakistan on a Long March-2C rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest, China. Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite-1 (PRSS-1) will operate in sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 640 km. The Satellite is equipped with a high resolution optical payload that will enable Pakistan to meet its imagery requirements in the areas of land mapping, agriculture classification and assessment, urban and rural planning, environmental monitoring, natural disaster management and water resource management for socio-economic development of the country. Another satellite, Pakistan Technology Evaluation Satellite-1A (PakTES-1A), an indigenously developed 285 kg Remote Sensing Satellite (RSS) of Pakistan has also been launched at 610 km sun-synchronous orbit. With this launch, Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Organization’s (SUPARCO) scientists and engineers have been able to exploit critical technologies essentially required for Pakistan’s Satellite Development Program. In 2012, Pakistan completed its first Remote Sensing Satellite Project (RSSR). SUPARCO set up its own version of Global Navigation Satellite system (GNS) and immediately acquired the BeiDou navigation system of China for this satellite in September 2012. Currently, three Satellites are under design by SUPARCO in collaboration with different universities throughout the country. In view of recent development at regional and international level, the government allocated Rs 4.70 billion which includes Rs 2.55 billion for three new projects. The funding includes the establishment of Pakistan Space Centre (PSC) in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. They will have the capability to manufacture, test, integrate, launch and carry out various satellite related operations. PSC will also have the capacity to perform system level assembly of the satellites. Looking at the history of country’s space program, Pakistan space program started after the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1960s. During the Cold War, the space race was at its peak between the two super powers and many nations brought space technology home with the help of two competing powers under umbrella of alliance. Pakistan made a space institute under supervision of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) in 1961. Later, the research wing was named as SUPARCO, assigned to conduct research on scientific and technological experiments. In 1961, SUPARCO with the help of NASA launched its first rocket Rehbar-I. Pakistan became the only 10th country in Asia to successfully launch and conduct an unmanned spacecraft. In 1990, Pakistan launched a communication satellite series, called Badr, with the assistance of China. Badr-B was launched in 2001 using a Ukrainian rocket. In 2011, PakSat-1R was launched which was Pakistan’s first communication satellite. This was developed and launched by China. An advanced space programme is the need of today not only due to growing demand from civil communications, including the GPS, cell phone and internet, but also due to the changing scenario in the region Moreover, Pakistan and China recently signed an agreement for the development and launch of Pak-Sat Multi-Mission Satellite (PakSat-MM1) as well. PakSat-MM1 will primarily function as a communications satellite with the capability to provide Direct-to-Home (DTH) services. The agreement was signed between China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) and Pakistan. As per the MoU, CGWIC and Pakistan will share the cost of the production, launch, and operations of the satellites equally. Pakistan space program has always been meant for peaceful purposes. The mission statement of Pakistan’s Space Vision 2047 considers “space as a strategic sector, exploit all aspects of space science, technology, and its applications for national wellbeing and national security.” Through recently launched PRSS-I, the environmental monitoring and management, covering all four environmental areas i.e. land, air, coast and marine would be accomplished. Moreover, it will help in getting accurate knowledge about the fresh water supply and hence it will help in proper water management and other natural resources. The most significant utility of PRSS-I data includes climate forecasting to track weather-related natural disasters like floods, storms, rain etc. and in accelerating response, recovery and rebuilding efforts immediately afterwards by the relief departments. No doubt,the accurate weather forecasts are also extremely important to determine the country’s electricity demand, its generation, supply, electric infrastructure and onwards the cost to consumers which has been a critical issue of Pakistan for several years. It would help to reduce the economic and social costs of managing disasters and help with the electricity demands of Pakistan substantially. Moreover, the satellite data may be used to study the spread of several chronic diseases contributing to ensure health and recovery of common public. Hence, an advanced space programme is the need of time not only due to growing demand from civil communications, including the Global Positioning System (GPS), mobile telephone and internet, but also due to the changing scenario in the region also. Hence, it is time for the decision makers in power to give SUPARCO particular attention. It will help reduce Pakistan’s dependence on foreign satellites, which it needs to use for civilian purposes. There is an urgent need to understand that space is a new avenue for a variety of practical applications from scientific exploration to economic gains. One must acknowledge the significance of a robust and sustainable space program. Doing so will not only enable national and commercial space exploration but help provide Pakistan with significant economic gains. The space technologies are playing a vital function in both enhancing productivity in business and economy and facilitating the socio-political progress. Pakistan also needs to expand into space diplomacy dynamically as an instrument to expand Pakistani diplomatic influence and soft power projection plus its geo-political and geo-strategic interests. This may very well hold the key to deepening relationships at the regional as well at international level. The writer is part of the Visiting Faculty at Fatima Jinnah Women University Published in Daily Times, July 16th 2018.