1969 was the year, when the United States succeeded in landing humans on the moon – our closest neighbour in space – and safely bringing them back to Earth.
The United States, being the most technologically advanced country on Earth, put that feather in its hat about 45 years ago.
What was the condition of India and Pakistan at that time? The two countries had already fought two battles, and were about to plunge into another one in 1971.
While the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was established in 1969, the same year when humans set foot on the moon, Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) was established in 1961 – eight years before its Indian counterpart.
Explore: Space: Above and Beyond
SUPARCO was set up by the most famous of all Pakistani scientists and the country’s only Nobel Laureate: Dr Abdus Salam.
Dr Salam had advised Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, then President of Pakistan to establish a Space Sciences Research Wing within Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. This later turned into SUPARCO in 1964.