China hands over CubeSat satellite data to Pakistan

China has successfully obtained and delivered the data from ICUBE-Q, a lunar orbiter co-developed by Pakistan’s Institute of Space Technology (IST) and China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University, to Pakistan on Friday. The satellite captured its first image on May 8 en route to collect samples from the far side of the Moon.

The first image taken by ICUBE-Q shows the Sun shinning brightly, May 8, 2024. /CNSA

The first image taken by ICUBE-Q shows the Sun shinning brightly, May 8, 2024. /CNSA

The first image of the Moon captured by ICUBE-Q, May 8, 2024. /CNSA

The first image of the Moon captured by ICUBE-Q, May 8, 2024. /CNSA

The image of the Sun and the Moon taken by ICUBE-Q, May 8, 2024. /CNSA

The image of the Sun and the Moon taken by ICUBE-Q, May 8, 2024. /CNSA

The ICUBE-Q separated into lunar orbit from the Chang’e-6 Orbiter, obtained data from the satellite, and sent the photos it took, including one of the Moon, back to Earth.

China’s National Space Agency (CNSA) held a data delivery ceremony on Friday, attended by Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque. The images captured by the satellite were also released to the public.

The collaboration was initially offered by China, expecting a student-built payload to the Moon onboard the Chang’e 6 mission. A proposal by Pakistan’s IST went through the selection and started working in a collaborative effort with IST faculty and students, Pakistan’s national space agency SUPARCO and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) since 2023.