Bangladesh is all set to reap the benefits of putting its own satellite into space with the Bangabandhu-1, a geostationary communications satellite to be operated by Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited (BCSCL), as part of a project being implemented by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
Designed and manufactured by French-Italian aerospace company Thales Alenia Space, the satellite is scheduled for launch on May 5th from Florida’s Cape Canaveral launchpad in the US, with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Block 5 rockets delivering it into orbit.
The satellite, with an expected lifespan of 15 years, will have major applications in Direct to Home (DTH), Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) communications, backhaul and trunking, network restoration, and disaster preparedness and relief.
It will be the first full-size satellite in operation for Bangladesh, and will be a potential source of savings and eventual income for the nation – currently, Bangladesh spends nearly $14 million a year on renting satellite services from other nations. Once operational, BTRC is expected to rent out satellite services to Nepal and Bhutan, among others, using 20 of the 40 transponders on board.
Two ground stations at Gazipur and Rangamati will control the satellite functions locally.
SpaceX had previously planned to launch the satellite December 16th of 2017, but the launch was postponed due to damage from Hurricane Irma.