Space Program of Nepal
------The Nepalese Space Agency------
Level = 0 Development: Very Low
What has been going on in Nepal?
What kind of space power do they have?
Does Nepal have space weapons?
What are they planning over there?
Population: 27,500,000 / Language: Nepali / GDP: $1700 / Cities: Kathmandu
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With its ancient culture and the Himalayas as a backdrop, landlocked Nepal has long been a destination for travellers in search of adventure, 'as far away from civilization as possible.'
It is also, unfortunately, one of the world's poorest countries, a situation that has been made worse by a violent Maoist rebellion.
Nepal has been under the sway of an hereditary monarchy or ruling family for most of its known history, largely isolated from the rest of the world.
Parliament reinstated in May 2006 following popular uprising against king's absolute rule
King has been stripped of execute powers
Multi-party government and Maoist rebels have signed a deal proclaiming an end to the insurgency
Maoists will be included in a transitional government; they launched a violent campaign to topple the monarchy in 1996 and control large parts of the countryside
A brief experiment with multi-party politics in 1959 ended with King Mahendra suspending parliament and taking sole charge.
Democratic politics was introduced in 1991 after popular protests, but it has been extremely factionalised with frequent changes of government. The current monarch has twice assumed executive powers - in 2002 and 2005.
Meanwhile, Maoist rebels intent on setting up a communist republic have been waging a campaign against the constitutional monarchy in a conflict that has left more than 12,000 people dead since it started in 1996.
The UN says the rebellion has displaced more than 100,000 people. Its envoy in the country says the use of torture by government forces and rebels was routine.
When King Gyanendra ended his direct rule in April 2006 the rebels entered talks on how to end the civil war.
Nepal has been at odds with neighbouring Bhutan over the repatriation of thousands of refugees living in camps in Nepal. The refugees - Bhutanese of Nepalese descent - fled violence in their homeland in the early 1990s.
With the world's highest mountain, Everest, and spectacular scenery and wildlife, the country has great potential as a tourist destination.
It also boasts a distinctive Hindu and Buddhist culture. But its environmental challenges including deforestation, encroachment on animal habitats and vehicle pollution in the capital, Kathmandu.
Most of the population depend on agriculture, and around 40% of Nepalis are estimated to live in poverty.
Foreign aid is vital to sustaining the Nepalese economy, and the country is also dependent on trade with neighbouring India.
Full name: Kingdom of Nepal
Head of state: King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev
King Gyanendra recalled parliament in April 2006 after weeks of strikes and protests against his direct rule.
Weeks later, parliament voted unanimously to curtail the monarch's political powers, effectively rendering him a ceremonial figure.
The king sacked the government in February 2005, assumed absolute power and appointed a mainly pro-monarchist cabinet.
He said the former administration, under Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, had failed to stem Maoist violence and to organise elections. The monarch's actions triggered protests at home and criticism from abroad.
King Gyanendra ascended the throne in June 2001 soon after then Crown Prince Dipendra gunned down his parents King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya and seven other royals.
The 29-year-old prince ran amok at a family dinner in a drunken and drug-fuelled rage before killing himself.
King Gyanendra was born in 1947. He is married and has two children. His youngest son, Paras, is the heir to the throne.
Prime minister: Girija Prasad Koirala
King Gyanendra appointed the veteran politician GP Koirala, an octogenarian, as prime minister on 27 April 2006, ending more than a year of direct rule by the monarch.
The leaders of a seven-party alliance selected him as their candidate to head a new government after the king agreed to reinstate parliament following street protests against his direct rule.
The administration wants to bring the Maoists into the political mainstream and has held peace talks with the rebels. It aims to set up an elected assembly, which will be tasked with creating a new constitution.
Mr Koirala leads the Nepali Congress, the country's largest and oldest political party. He became Nepal's first elected premier in 1991 and began his fourth and most recent term in 2000.
The former trade union leader and exile was detained several times during the latest period of direct rule by the king. He was jailed in the 1960s while campaigning for democratic rule.
In May 2006 Nepal's new multi-party government eased some of the edicts that had stifled press freedom during the state of emergency invoked by King Gyanendra in February 2005.
The media watchdog Reporters Without Borders says Nepal accounted for half of the world's censorship cases in 2005 and that more than 400 journalists had been arrested, attacked or threatened. "Security forces stop at nothing to monitor and silence journalists working for the independent press," the organisation added.
Once-outspoken private publications found themselves operating under strict guidelines. Some newspapers left their editorial pages blank, or published editorials on deliberately bland topics. Private FM radio stations were ordered not to broadcast political news.
The Maoist rebellion in Nepal, and the efforts to suppress it, have had a profound impact on the media. Rights groups say attacks on media workers have been perpetrated by both sides in the conflict.
The government publishes a Nepali-language daily and an English-language newspaper. It operates national radio and TV services.
BBC World Service is available on FM in Kathmandu.
Nepal's Space Infrastructure
Nepal is troubled by the ongoing insurgency throughout the country against the occupation of it by American forces. Its space program is not suprisingly, nonexistent. Not only does it not have an agency, but also not much of an infrastructure in which one would arise. The University of Kathmandul offers a degree in engineering but nothing specific to space related educational architecture, such as astrophysics, astronomy, astronautics or aeronautics. It focuses mostly on agriculture in this rural, mountainous country. The government has no ministry devoted to science of this type.
Nepal has no history of being part of any organization dealing with space, nor has launch capability.
Nepal lacks the industrial base, the educational base and the political foundation for a process like this to occur within it. It has no functioning university with an astrophysics or astronautics program, and marginal industry.
Nepal operates no satellites and, not having an orbital presence, has no space power.
The government of Nepal in in Kathmandu has no plans for attempting to further any ambition in space development or research, but may once things stabilize, if they ever do.
Timeline of Events in Nepal
...From the Past to the Future
1768 - Gurkha ruler Prithvi Narayan Shah conquers Kathmandu and lays foundations for unified kingdom.
1792 - Nepalese expansion halted by defeat at hands of Chinese in Tibet.
1814-16 - Anglo-Nepalese War; culminates in treaty which establishes Nepal's current boundaries.
1846 - Nepal falls under sway of hereditary chief ministers known as Ranas, who dominate the monarchy and cut off country from outside world.
1923 - Treaty with Britain affirms Nepal's sovereignty.
1950 - Anti-Rana forces based in India form alliance with monarch.
1951 - End of Rana rule. Sovereignty of crown restored and anti-Rana rebels in Nepalese Congress Party form government.
Nepal's Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary; first to the top of the world
1953 29 May - New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepal's Sherpa Tenzing Norgay become the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
1955 - Nepal joins the United Nations.
1955 - King Tribhuwan dies, King Mahendra ascends throne.
1959 - Multi-party constitution adopted.
1960 - King Mahendra seizes control and suspends parliament, constitution and party politics after Nepali Congress Party (NCP) wins elections with B. P. Koirala as premier.
1962 - New constitution provides for non-party system of councils known as "panchayat" under which king exercises sole power. First elections to Rastrya Panchayat held in 1963.
1972 - King Mahendra dies, succeeded by Birendra.
1980 - Constitutional referendum follows agitation for reform. Small majority favours keeping existing panchayat system. King agrees to allow direct elections to national assembly - but on a non-party basis.
1985 - NCP begins civil disobedience campaign for restoration of multi-party system.
1986 - New elections boycotted by NCP.
Trade and transit dispute with India leads to border blockade by Delhi resulting in worsening economic situation.
1990 - Pro-democracy agitation co-ordinated by NCP and leftist groups. Street protests suppressed by security forces resulting in deaths and mass arrests. King Birendra eventually bows to pressure and agrees to new democratic constitution.
1991 - Nepali Congress Party wins first democratic elections. Girija Prasad Koirala becomes prime minister.
1994 - Koirala's government defeated in no-confidence motion. New elections lead to formation of Communist government.
1995 - Communist government dissolved. Radical leftist group, the Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) begins insurrection in rural areas aimed at abolishing monarch and establishing people's republic.
1997 - Continuing political instability as Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is defeated and replaced by Lokendra Bahadur Chand. Chand is then forced to resign because of party splits and is replaced by Surya Bahadur Thapa.
1998 - Thapa stands down because of party splits. GP Koirala returns as prime minister heading a coalition government.
1999 - Fresh elections give majority to Nepali Congress Party. Krishna Prasad Bhattarai becomes prime minister.
2000 - Prime Minister Bhattarai steps down after revolt in Nepali Congress Party. GP Koirala returns as prime minister, heading the ninth government in 10 years.
2001 April - General strike called by Maoist rebels brings life in much of the country to a virtual standstill; police arrest anti-government demonstrators, including some opposition leaders, in Kathmandu.
Nepal's royals, pictured before the 2001 palace killings
2001 1 June - King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya and other close relatives killed in shooting spree by drunken Crown Prince Dipendra, who then shoots himself.
2001 4 June - Prince Gyanendra crowned King of Nepal after the late King Birendra's son, Dipendra - who had been declared king on 2 June - died of injuries sustained during the palace shooting.
2001 July - Maoist rebels step up campaign of violence. Sher Bahadur Deuba becomes prime minister, heading the 11th government in 11 years, after Girija Prasad Koirala quits over the violence.
2001 July - Deuba announces peace with rebels, truce begins.
2001 November - Maoists say peace talks have failed, truce is no longer justified. Launch coordinated attacks on army and police posts.
2001 November - State of emergency declared after more than 100 people are killed in four days of violence. King Gyanendra orders army to crush the Maoist rebels.
2002 February - Maoists kill 127 in raids on government targets.
Ex-PM Deuba was jailed by a controversial anti-corruption body
2002 April - Maoist rebels order a five-day national strike, days after hundreds are killed in two bloody attacks.
2002 May - Intense clashes between military and rebels in the west. Rebels declare one-month ceasefire, rejected by government.
Deuba visits Britain and other states, seeking help in the war against Maoist rebels. US President George W Bush pledges $20 million.
2002 May - Parliament dissolved, fresh elections called amid political confrontation over extending the state of emergency. Deuba expelled by his Nepali Congress party, heads interim government, renews emergency.
2002 October - King Gyanendra dismisses Deuba and indefinitely puts off elections set for November. Lokendra Bahadur Chand appointed as PM.
2003 January - Rebels, government declare ceasefire.
2003 May-June - Lokendra Bahadur Chand resigns as PM; king appoints his own nominee Surya Bahadur Thapa as new premier.
End of truce
2003 August - Rebels pull out of peace talks with government and end seven-month truce. Rebels call three-day general strike in September.
Maoist rebels control swathes of the country
late 2003 onwards - Political stalemate; clashes between students/activists and police; resurgence of violence.
2004 April - Nepal joins the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
2004 May - Royalist Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa resigns following weeks of street protests by opposition groups.
2004 June - King Gyanendra reappoints Sher Bahadur Deuba as prime minister.
2004 August - Maoist rebels blockade Kathmandu for a week.
Twelve Nepalese hostages in Iraq are murdered by their captors, sparking violent protests in Kathmandu.
The king gave up absolute rule after weeks of protests
2005 1 February - King Gyanendra dismisses Prime Minister Deuba and his government, declares a state of emergency and assumes direct power, citing the need to defeat Maoist rebels.
2005 30 April - King lifts the state of emergency.
2005 July - Royal anti-graft commission sentences former Prime Minister Deuba to two years in jail for corruption. He is freed in February 2006, after the commission is outlawed.
2005 September - Rebels announce a three-month, unilateral ceasefire, the first truce since peace talks broke down in 2003. The truce, later extended to four months, ends in January 2006.
2005 November - Maoist rebels and main opposition parties agree on a programme intended to restore democracy.
Kumari, a pre-pubescent girl, is revered as a living goddess
2006 April - An opposition alliance calls off weeks of strikes and protests against the direct rule of the king after the monarch agrees to reinstate parliament. GP Koirala is appointed as prime minister. Maoist rebels call a three-month ceasefire.
2006 May - Parliament votes unanimously to curtail the king's political powers. The government and Maoist rebels begin peace talks, the first in nearly three years.
2006 16 June - Rebel leader Prachanda and PM Koirala hold talks - the first such meeting between the two sides - and agree that the Maoists should be brought into an interim government.
2006 September - Parliament strips the king of his command over the army.
2006 November - The government and Maoists sign a peace accord, declaring a formal end to a 10-year rebel insurgency. The rebels are to join a transitional government and their weapons will be placed under UN supervision.
TODAY AND INTO THE FUTURE