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Pakistan's maiden lunar satellite sends 1st images from Moon orbit

Pakistan's maiden lunar satellite sends 1st images from Moon orbit

- Pakistani Ambassador Khalil Hashmi receives data sent down to Earth by iCube from China National Space Administration in Beijing
 

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD (AA) - Pakistan's maiden lunar satellite iCube has sent its first images captured from the lunar orbit.

Khalil Hashmi, Pakistan’s ambassador to China, received data transmitted by the iCube.

Hashmi received the first images at a ceremony hosted by the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The iCube satellite, also known as ICUBE-Qamar, was jointly developed by Pakistan's Institute of Space Technology and China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

It was launched aboard China's Chang'e-6 lunar probe on May 3, carrying four international payloads, including iCube.

The Chang'e-6 lunar probe successfully entered its circumlunar orbit on Wednesday, when iCube took the images.

The iCUBE-Q orbiter carries two optical cameras to image the lunar surface.

The primary purpose of iCUBE-Q, or CubeSats, is to facilitate scientific research, technology development, and educational initiatives in space exploration.

According to the CNSA, the Chang'e 6 probe will collect samples from the far side of the moon, making the mission the first of its kind in human history.

The Chang'e-6 spacecraft, like its predecessor Chang'e-5, comprises an orbiter, a lander, an ascender, and a returner. The Chang'e-5 returned to Earth in December 2020 with the first lunar soil samples in over four decades.

Besides CubeSats from Pakistan, the Chang’e-6 mission also carries a number of other international payloads to the moon, including the European Space Agency's lunar surface ion analyzer, France's radon detection instrument, and Italy's laser corner reflector.

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