Bangladesh sets out on journey into space

HM Murtuza | Published: 03:05, May 11,2018 | Updated: 04:29, May 11,2018


Bangladesh’s first communication satellite, Bangabandhu-1, is set to be launched into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex in Florida, USA. The photo was taken on Thursday. — Neher Siddiiquee/ Focusbangla photo

Bangladesh’s first ever communication satellite, Bangabandhu-1, was set to be launched at 5:47pm on Thursday, at 3:47am Bdst on Friday, from the USA to 119.1 degree east longitude orbital slot, 36,000 kilometers away from the earth.
The launch was earlier scheduled for 4:00pm on the day.
Once the satellite becomes active at its orbital slot, it will be controlled from three stations in the US, Italy and South Korea for a couple of months.
Afterwards, it would be controlled and maintained from the ground stations located at Gazipur and Rangamati in Bangladesh.
A Bangladeshi delegation comprising prime minister’s ICB adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy, state minister for information Tarana Halim, BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood and others is staying in the USA to oversee the launch.
It would provide direct-to-home (DTH) services, video distribution and very small aperture terminal (VSAT) communications across Bangladesh. The satellite will also provide broadband connectivity to rural areas throughout the country
Satellite Bangabandhu, named after the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, will take eight days to reach its orbital slot.
In case, the satellite was not launched on Thursday, it will be launched between 4:14pm and 6:21pm on Friday, according to SpaceX website information.
With this, Bangladesh would be the 57th country to have its own satellite, bringing to an end to two-and-a-half years of hype after signing deal with a French entity for building it.
Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket that was built by SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company, was set to lift the 3.5 tonne Bangabandhu-1 communications satellite from the NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
Bangladesh became the first customer for the Falcon 9 Block 5 — SpaceX’s final and most powerful version of the rocket.
The Falcon 9 Block 5 includes upgrades to meet NASA commercial crew requirements and US Defense Department criteria.
The Block 5 is designed for 10 or more flights using the same first stage booster while the previous versions were only designed to handle two or three flights.
The journey of launching space was initiated first in 2013, when the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission hired orbital slot from Russian-Intersputnik in the year, at the cost of $28 million equivalent to Tk 220 crore for a period of 15 years.
Bangladesh would also be allowed to fly another four satellites at the same slot hired from Intersputnik.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh applied for hiring three more slots as part of the country’s plan to launch more satellite in future.
The BTRC in November, 2015, signed a deal with French company Thales Alenia Space to build the telecommunications satellite within December 16, 2017.
To meet up the expenses, the government approved Tk 2,967 crore finance, of which BTRC so far spent Tk 2,765 crore for the purpose.
The satellite contains 40 transponders of two types of bands — Ku and C.
Launching date of Bangabandhu-1 satellite has so far been deferred for eight times since December 16, 2017.
Private TV channels, local and international, would be the main subscribers of satellite, while mobile phone companies and any other communication service providers could also be its subscribers. 

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