Bangladesh’s first satellite is expected to be launched from Florida in April after the original launch window of the last week in March was postponed.
The project director, Engineer Md Mesbahuzzaman, said the Bangabandhu-1 satellite will be launched in the presence of a 30-member representative team from Bangladesh led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Information and Communication technology (ICT) Adviser, Sajeeb Wazed Joy.
“Officially, no launch date has been announced,” Md Mesbahuzzaman said. “The launching agency, SpaceX, will confirm the date to us at least 15 days prior to the launch.”
Also attending the launch will be State Minister of Information Tarana Halim, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood, Postal and Telecommunication Department Secretary Shyam Sunder Sikder, and other BRTC.
Although the launch has been delayed a few times already, it will be broadcast online, allowing the prime minister and other interested observers to watch the historic event from Bangladesh.
To celebrate, there will be seminars, symposiums and other events held across the nation.
The prospect of Bangladesh operating its own satellite became real in November 2015, when BTRC signed a $248 million deal with Thales Alenia Space to manufacture and launch Bangabandhu-1. Under the project, two earth stations have been set up at Joydebpur in Gazipur and Betbunia in Rangamati.
The orbital slot on 119.1 degree east longitude was bought from Russian satellite company “Intersputnik” for $28 million last year.
Bangladesh currently spends around $14 million each year on renting other nation’s satellites to run its television channels, telephones and radio connectivity.
Once launched, Bangabandhu-1 will save the national exchequer Tk110-120 crore in broadcasting expenditure annually.
The satellite will have 40 transponders capable of serving fellow Saarc member countries Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com