LAHORE: Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani formally inaugurated the commercial operation of Pakistan’s first indigenously made communication satellite Paksat-1R near Kala Shah Kaku in Lahore on Saturday. Addressing the inauguration ceremony‚ Gilani said that the application of space technology would contribute significantly to socioeconomic development of the country. The prime minister also inaugurated the Primary Satellite Control Facility on the occasion. The satellite was launched on August 11 on board China’s Satellite Launch Vehicle from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province as a part of Pakistan’s Space Programme 2040. The PAKSAT-1R weighs 5,115kg and is based on the DongFangHong-4 platform with 18 Ku-band and 12 C-band transponders onboard. The geostationary satellite would orbit at 23,000 miles above the surface of the earth and is expected to enhance the broadcast and broadband capabilities of the country. However, some scientists say that what Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) has achieved today could have been done 30 years ago. PAKSAT-1R has a design life of 15 years and will provide TV broadcasting, Internet and data communication services across South and Central Asia, Eastern Europe, East Africa and the Far East. The satellite will now enable the extending of communication services to all areas of Pakistan.