The Pakistan-India Space Race That Wasn’t

Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s first Nobel laureate and the primary Muslim to win the prize, had a imaginative and prescient. The 12 months was 1961. Pakistan was in its infancy; the nation had gained independence from the British solely 14 years prior, and sources had been scarce. However the theoretical physicist satisfied the nation’s second president Ayub Khan of the significance of attending to area, and the 2 launched the House and Higher Ambiance Analysis Fee (SUPARCO) in 1961, eight years earlier than India would start an area program. Pakistan despatched rockets into area 200 instances between 1962 and 1972, all below Salam’s management.

Underneath Salam’s path, Pakistan beat India to area by 13 years. The 2 area applications arose in the course of the Chilly Conflict, when the U.S. and Soviet Union had been racing to the moon. The 2 axes of energy additionally took sides after the Partition, with the U.S. backing Pakistan’s area program and the Soviet Union whispering in India’s ear. However whereas India reached the moon — and, quickly after, the solar — previously few weeks, Pakistan’s area program nonetheless hasn’t made its personal launcher. On condition that Pakistan’s promising area program started with a lot fanfare and a NASA co-sign, the 2 South Asian nations very nicely may need had an area race of their very own.

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