Pakistan’s decision to send man to space was taken during Pakistan’s federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The cabinet approved the plan of sending an astronaut to space for the first time in 2022 with China’s help.
For the mission, an agreement between Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and a Chinese company has already been signed. Pakistan and China already have robust defence ties and Pakistan is one of the top buyers of Chinese military hardware. Earlier in 2018, Pakistan had launched two satellites into orbit, using a Chinese launch vehicle. The satellites were launched aboard a Chinese Long March (LM-2C) rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre located at the Gobi desert, China. The satellites included a remote sensing satellite (PRSS1), a dual-purpose Earth observational and optical satellite, and PAK-TES-1A. Developed by Space and Upper Atmospheric Research Commission (SUPARCO), the PAK-TES-1A satellite was launched to enhance satellite manufacture capabilities in the country that would help end Pakistan’s dependency on commercial satellites for information related to weather, environment and agriculture. The satellites had to be transported to China as Pakistan lacks the infrastructure to launch objects to space.