Bangladesh’s first geostationary communication satellite Bangabandhu-I is set to start its maiden transmission today through the broadcasting of South Asian Football Federation Championship.
‘We are set to broadcast the SAFF Championship using BS-I on Bangladesh Television,’ said Shahjahan Mahmood, chairman of Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited, the organisation responsible for operating the satellite.
He added, ‘We will provide feed to BTV after receiving it from a private satellite television station which owns the broadcasting rights of the tournament.’
Mahmood, however, termed this broadcast as ‘pre-test’ for commercial operations while all previous tests required were completed successfully since the satellite took position into the orbit.
‘Now, the time has come to move ahead. . . and we would be able to observe the operation of BS-I in the next two weeks through this trial test,’ he said.
Asked if local satellite television channels were ready to receive the service, he said that BCSCL engineers were working with them to install the necessary equipment.
‘Some equipment regarding the satellite connection is needed to be installed for switching over to Bangabandhu-I from other satellites,’ said the chairman.
He said that Thales Alenia Space, the manufacturing company of the satellite, was yet to handover the control of the two ground stations – the primary one in Gazipur and the secondary one in Rangamati, to the BCSCL.
Bangladesh was hosting the 12th edition of the SAFF Championship, the biennial international men’s football championship of South Asia, organised by the SAFF. The championship began on September 4 and would conclude on September 15.
Bangabandhu-I was successfully launched from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida of United States at 16:14 local time (02:14 BST) on May 11.
An advanced rocket ‘Block 5’ version of the Falcon 9 of SpaceX lifted the satellite for the orbit located at 119.1 degrees east and after ten days of launch, the satellite took position at the desired location (orbital slot).
According to the agreement, Thales Alenia Space of France would manage the satellite along with local engineers for the next three years. An 18-member team of local engineers had been trained up to handle the operation of the satellite.
Bangladesh will operate the satellite from 119.1 degrees east using a payload comprising 26 Ku Band and 14 C-Band transponders to deliver focused telecommunications coverage to Bangladesh. One transponder was equivalent to 36 MHz.
Ku-band covered Bangladesh and its territorial area of the Bay of Bengal, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines. C-band covered Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and parts of Kazakhstan.
The government took up the Bangabandhu-I project in May 2015 and assigned Thales Alenia with the task of manufacturing the satellite by signing a $248-million deal in November the same year.
The satellite had 15 years for mission life span while another three years for its design.
The satellite will offer video services for Direct-to-Home, e-learning, tele-medicine, family planning, farming, among others, while voice service to cellular backhaul and disaster recovery, and data service for internet, SCADA, SOHO as well as business-to-business.
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