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ISNET Activities >> Activities 2011


Expert Meeting for Development of Data Sharing Platform and Technical Experience-sharing for Cost-effective Operation and Maintenance of National Satellite Earth Stations
12 Ė 15 July 2011; Islamabad, Pakistan

Inter Islamic Network on Space Sciences and Technology (ISNET), in collaboration with OIC Standing Committee for Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) and Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) held an Expert Meeting for Development of Data-sharing Platform and Technical Experience-sharing for Cost-effective Operation and Maintenance of National Satellite Earth Stations from 12 Ė 15 July 2011 at COMSTECH Secretariat in Islamabad, Pakistan. COMSTECH and ISESCO provided the financial support whereas Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) provided administrative and organizational support to the meeting.

  Honourable Chief Guest Chairman SUPARCO posing with representatives from COMSTECH, ISESCO and ISNET together with International Experts at the Inauguration Ceremony at COMSTECH Auditorium  

The meeting was aimed at developing cooperation among OIC countries for space-related programs as well as for knowledge-sharing and capacity-building in satellite ground and earth station operations.

The event began with an inauguration ceremony presided by Mr Ahmed Bilal, Chairman SUPARCO who is also ex-officio President of ISNET. Dr Mohammed Ali Mahesar, Assistant Coordinator General COMSTECH delivered the welcome address. He emphasized the dire need in the OIC member countries to devote resources for development of science and technology-based projects. He also noted that one of the gravest challenges the Ummah was facing was the efficient utilization of the existing science and technology infrastructure. Representing ISESCO at the inaugural ceremony was Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Deputy Director General ISESCO who reiterated ISESCOís commitment to science and technology education and stressed upon the need for ISESCO and COMSTECH to continue to collaborate in organising such conferences in the future. Chairman SUPARCO Mr Ahmed Bilal in his inaugural address underscored the role of space technology and applications in the socio-economic development of the world in general and the Muslim Ummah in particular. He also briefed the audience on the activities of SUPARCO as the National Space Agency of Pakistan.

On the second day participants from Egypt, Iran, Malaysia and Senegal and Pakistan presented technical papers covering different aspects related to management, operations, maintenance and trouble-shooting of satellite earth stations.

The third day was dedicated to discussions and deliberations of five working groups, comprising thirty participants. The topics and issues discussed by the five working groups were: operational management of satellite earth stations; data and expertise sharing of remote sensing ground stations; establishment of remote sensing ground stations in OIC countries; support in upgrades and maintenance of existing ground stations; and capacity building requirements. Technical experts keenly observed the capabilities, experience and the technical expertise of the participating countries and expressed their desire to collaborate in areas that included sharing of archived remote sensing data, maintenance related know-how and technical expertise in ground station operations. Another aspect that was highlighted was the sharing of experience in different critical applications areas including crop monitoring, yield estimation modeling, disaster monitoring, and damage assessment.

  Meeting and presentations in progress  

The delegation from Iran showed keen interest in the use of high resolution data of SPOT-5 satellite which Pakistan has been acquiring since 1992. The participant from Malaysia expressed the need to cooperate to benefit from Pakistanís expertise in RS-GIS applications and expressed willingness to provide training in LEO earth observation satellite TT&C ground station, AIT for space and ground segments besides in-orbit testing and commissioning of LEO satellites. Suggestions were also made pertaining to design, development and testing of remote sensing satellites. He also expressed the possibility of collaboration between Institute of Space Technology (IST) and the National University of Technology, Malaysia in Satellite Communication Systems Engineering and RS GIS. The Malaysian and Pakistani experts agreed to share know-how, skills and impart training on operational activities of respective ground receiving stations. Likewise, the delegate from Egypt proposed to share expertise in design and development of communication systems, GPS and communication protocols with other ISNET member states. The delegate from Senegal evinced interest in capacity building in RS-GIS in the domain of agriculture and disaster monitoring and damage assessment.

The Iranian delegation proposed undertaking bilateral projects in utilization of Pakistanís expertise in the areas of agriculture, disaster, land-use and environmental studies and hydrology. Senegal showed interest in the development of RS-GIS-based crop monitoring system for rice and sugarcane crops with Pakistan as well as in the areas of disaster management and mitigation. The Egyptian delegate exhibited desire to derive benefit from Pakistanís expertise in remote sensing applications. The Malaysian delegate displayed special curiosity in sharing skills developed for paddy (rice) area estimation coupled with yield forecast modeling with Pakistan.

The participants from Egypt and Iran sought Pakistanís support in the upgrade of existing single channel X-band ground receiving station, whereas Pakistani experts showed interest in seeking Egyptís technical support in installing environmental control structure (radome) for the outdoor antenna unit which the latter is planning to install soon and has the complete technical know-how. The delegate from Egypt also expressed interest in seeking technical assistance from Pakistan for setting up a new two-channel X-band receiving station. The Iranian delegation showed interest in securing Pakistanís assistance in acquiring training on various aspects of establishing and running of remote sensing satellite receiving stations. All the participants in general agreed to provide more information about their earth stations besides approving to share knowledge and expertise in the operation, maintenance and management of the ground segments of their respective countries.

After the meeting session the participants were taken to SUPARCOís Satellite Ground Station at Islamabad for a technical briefing.

  Foreign participants being briefed at a laboratory at Satellite Ground Station (SGS), Islamabad   Technical briefing during visit to Satellite Ground Station, Islamabad  

Later the participants visited the Institute of Space Technology (IST) and were briefed on the different areas of satellite technology that were being taught. The participants appreciated the modern classrooms and laboratories that IST hosted.

  Experts were taken to various laboratories around Institute of Space Technology (IST)   Foreign delegates took keen interest in the technical infrastructure of Institute of Space Technology (IST)  

The fourth and last day of the meeting was dedicated to summing up of the recommendations of the working groups, identifying key areas of capacity building, and finalizing the outcomes of the discussions of the core working groups. Focal points of each working group were formed who would stay in touch with other members and collaborators.

  Closing Session of the Expert Meeting  

The meeting culminated with a formal closing ceremony where the organizers appreciated the input of all experts and expressed their desire that concrete outcomes should follow the meeting and joint projects may be undertaken in the field of satellite ground station operations and maintenance in OIC member countries.

  Executive Director ISNET (L) presents ISNET Emblem to Assistant Coordinator General COMSTECH Dr Mohammed Ali Mahesar   Executive Director ISNET (L) presents ISNET Emblem to Deputy Director General ISESCO Dr Mukhtar Ahmed  

Mr Arshad H Siraj Executive Director, ISNET presented a note of thanks and emblems to collaborators and sponsors of the meeting and a book on Pakistan to each of the foreign participants.
Recommendation of participants
Recommendations of the Working Groups

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