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Callisto

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Pakistan became first country in south Asia to launch a rocket in space with the help of NASA in 1962.

In 1961 NASA needed weather data over South Asia for Apollo mission
Pakistani scientists Dr Abdul Salam and Dr Tariq Mustafa were invited to NASA headquarters
NASA told them they needed scientific data over Indian ocean for Apollo mission.

Dr. Tariq Mustafa recalls that he was associated with the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission at the time and was based in the United States for training.

He, meanwhile, described the visit of President Ayub and Dr. Abdul Salam to the United States as a good coincidence, which led Pakistan to immediately join the space race.

In an interview with the BBC, he said that one day during his stay in the United States, he received a call from Dr. Abdul Salam. "Tariq, there's an important meeting in Washington this morning and you have to get there. I don't care if you take the elevator or get on the plane, you just have to get there. ‘

The next day, he arrived at the NASA office in Washington with Dr. Abdul Salam.

NASA told them they have difficulty getting data on the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean.

The same day, NASA officials sent Dr. Tariq Mustafa on a special plane to the Walps Island Rocket Range on the other side of the country, where he was briefed on all the equipment and supplies.

He compiled his report all night, and the next day he returned to the NASA office in Washington with Dr. Abdul Salam. On the same day, NASA told Pakistan that if you agree, we can start this program. And just nine months later, not only was the rocket range built in Sonmiani, but the first rockets in the Rahbar series were also launched.

The first step was to establish a rocket range in Pakistan, which did not exist here at that time. For this purpose, President Ayub Khan suggested that the Army Artillery Range at Sonmiani could be used for this purpose as manpower accommodation and other facilities were already available there. The proposal was accepted and work was immediately started to convert the artillery range into Pakistan's first rocket range.

Within six months, Scientists were trained in the United States and the equipment was provided by NASA for rocket launch and stored at the US Walps Island Rocket Range.

Then the financial advisor of the Pakistani embassy, Wazir Ali Sheikh, was given the responsibility to deliver the goods to Pakistan. Sensitive devices in the luggage were placed in the trunk of a vehicle of Dr. Tariq Mustafa and the vehicle was sent to Pakistan. All equipment arrived in Pakistan by March 1962, and by then the team responsible for the rocket launch, with the help of the Army's engineering department, had adapted the artillery range to a rocket launch.



Pakistan launched it's first space mission REHBAR 1 from Sonmiani artillery range.

The experiment was to release sodium vapor into the atmosphere at an altitude of 50 to 100 miles by rocket, which was to be reflected by the sunlight coming from below the horizon after sunset, and then at Bholari, Lasbela, Hub and Karachi airport Cameras were installed to take pictures of the vapors at the same time, without a second's break.

For this purpose, spy cameras used in Pakistan Air Force planes were installed on the ground and it was possible to take pictures at the same time by connecting them together.

Images of these vapors were to be analyzed by long calculations without the help of a computer to determine the temperature of the upper atmosphere and the direction of the winds there, which NASA needed for the Apollo program.

Dr Saleem Mahmood, a member of the team and later chairman of Pakistan's Space and Upper Atmospheric Research Commission (SPARCO), told the BBC that the day was a combination of anxiety, excitement, passion and joy. was present.

He explains that the first leader rocket was a three-stage rocket and after the successful completion of each stage, the team would be happy and anxious about what the next stage would be like, but the experiment was successful.

Did all these scientists sleep happily that night or not? Dr. Saleem Mahmood laughed at this question. "We also fell asleep early that night because after this rocket launch we had to launch the next rocket four days later on the 11th."


Left to right: Ahmad Zameer Farooqi (Communications, Pakistan Air Force), Muhammad Rehmatullah (Pakistan Meteorological Department), Dr. Tariq Mustafa (Team Leader, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission), Dr. Saleem Mahmood (Electronics, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission), Sikandar Zaman (Engineering, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission)


Describing the difficult conditions of the range, he says that it was a difficult place and there was a constant threat of snakes and scorpions along with the heat.

One day when he entered the control room, a snake had already taken its place on the table in front of him. The four team members ran from there on foot and then the people were called and the snake was taken out of there.

But in spite of these circumstances, the work continued and the experiment was successful. NASA's own need was met and Pakistan took advantage of NASA's offer and proved itself to be the leading country in Asia in the space race.

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What we did after that? These scientists were transfered to defence division, suparco was neglected and funds were diverted to military and rest is history

Read the full passage here https://www.bbc.com/urdu/science-57376348
 

Falcon26

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Pakistan is like the curious case of Benjamin Button who grows backwards from a man to a child. Pakistan’s accomplishment in the first two decades of its existence were very impressive. It was an Asian tiger before there was any Asian tiger. Then the PPP and Zia and then the PML-N came along and sent it spiraling out of control. A military junta in the background that is obsessed with power and rent seeking didn’t help it either.
 
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N.Siddiqui

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Pakistan is like the curious case of Benjamin Button who grows backwards from a man to a child. Pakistan’s accomplishment in the first two decades of its existence were very impressive. It was an Asian tiger before there was any Asian tiger. Then the PPP and Zia and then the PML-N came along and sent it spiraling out of control. A military junta in the background that is obsessed with power and rent seeking didn’t help it either.

Ironically, all these good use of talent and expertise without any nepotism and mala fide intent was being done by none other than Field Marshal/President Ayub Khan...he was a visionary and sincere person with integrity.

It's not about armymen or civilians, its about sincerity, integrity and vision.
 

Meesna

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So here is an interview with Dr Salim Mehmud ex Charmain SUPARCO. All of it is interesting but he mentions this NASA stuff at around 8:25.

According to this video Dr Salam almost coerced Dr Salim Mehmud and Dr Tariq Mustafa into joining SUPARCO.


Please make a copy of this video at your end as it is an important historical reference.
 
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