The country’s first ever communication satellite, Bangabandhu-1, was successfully launched into space in the second attempt at 4:14pm EDT (2:14am BST) on Friday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Trailing a blaze behind, the Falcon-9 Block-5 rocket fired into the space, took the satellite to a height and was released from the upper part within 2.35 minutes of its launch when it reached around 70 kilometers.
In the next one minute, the second part of the rocket was also released when it attained 8,900 kilometres speed per hour reaching a height of 112 kilometers above the earth.
Thanking US, Franc and Russia for their support in launching the satellite, prime minister Sheikh Hasina said, ‘With the launch of the satellite, we now became member of the satellite club and entered into a new era.’
Bangabandhu Satellite-1 would be deployed into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) approximately 33 minutes after the launch, SpaceX said.
The satellite will travel to 119.1 degree east longitude orbital slot, 36,000 kilometers away from the earth.
Satellite Bangabandhu, named after the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, will take eight days to reach its orbital slot and another 20 days to settle.
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.
Falcon-9 Block-5 rocket that was built by SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company, lifted the 3.5 tonne Bangabandhu-1 communications satellite.
Bangladesh became the first customer for 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.
Earlier on Thursday, the launch was aborted automatically just 58 seconds before the scheduled liftoff time of 5:57pm EDT.
SpaceX couldn’t diagnose and fix the issue before the launch window closed at 6:22pm on the day.
Without naming the cause of abort, SpaceX in a twitter post on Thursday informed that the backup launching window would open on Friday.
‘Standing down today (Thursday the rocket falcon-9 block-5) due to a standard ground system auto abort at T-1 min,’ it said, ‘Rocket and payload (satellite) are in good health—teams are working towards tomorrow’s (Friday’s) backup launch opportunity at 4:14pm EDT.’
Before Thursday, launching date of Bangabandhu-1 satellite has so far been deferred for eight times since December 16, 2017.
He satellite 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.
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