Bangabandhu satellite launch in March likely
Bangladesh’s first satellite Bangabandhu-I would be launched to the orbit in March next, BTRC Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood said here yesterday.
“Manufacture of the satellite has been completed and we have visited it . . . Now we are waiting for a schedule to launch it to the orbit,” he told reporters at his office at Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
The regulatory body chief visited the ThalesAlenia Space in France and witnessed the complete satellite last week. It will be transported to Florida of the United States for launching.
“A precise date has not been fixed yet, but the launch is probable in March,” he added.
Replying to a query regarding the delay, Shahjahan Mahmood said bad weather and schedule problem had caused the delay.
Earlier, the possible launch of the satellite was set in December this year and later in January, but now it has been deferred to March.
However, state minister for posts and telecommunications Tarana Halim at her secretariat office in a press briefing today said they will announce the precise date of launching after getting the final confirmation from Space X, which is responsible to launch the satellite to the orbit.
In November 2015, the BTRC signed a $248-million deal with Thales Alenia Space to manufacture and launch the country’s first satellite.
Bangladesh will be the 54th country when the satellite would be launched into the orbital slot on 119.1 degree east longitude which (slot) was bought from Russian satellite company “Intersputnik” for US$ 28 million last year.
The satellite will have 40 transponders, which would be able to serve SAARC countries, Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as countries such as Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. One transponder is equivalent to 36 MHz.
Under the project, two earth stations would be set up at Joydevpur in Gazipur and Betbunia in Rangamati apart from a satellite.
Bangladesh spends around US$ 14 million annually on satellite rents for running television channels, telephones and radio connectivity.
Once launched, the satellite would save around Taka 110 to Taka 120 crore annually in foreign currency as broadcasting expenditure.