Last Updated on April 6, 2019 by Aminul Haque Shahin
Bangabandhu-1; Bangladesh’s first communication satellite, is on its way into orbit after its successful launching occurred on May 12. With the launching of Bangabandhu-1, Bangladesh became a proud member of the global space fraternity.
The event will surely be remembered with glory in the history of Bangladesh. The historic event took place at 02:14am on May 12, 2018. The satellite was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.
Bangabandhu-1 was carried by Falcon 9. Falcon 9 is a rocket, developed by the American space transportation firm, SpaceX. The rocket carried the satellite to the orbit from the Cape Carnival launching pad at 04:14pm US local time on May 11, 2018. The Cape Carnival launching pad is where a Korean satellite was launched last year.
Ironically, the station is adorned with the launching of Bangladesh’s nanosatellite. BRAC Onnesha, developed by BRAC university students, was the first Bangladeshi nanosatellite, launched into space.
How was Bangabandhu-1 launched into space?
The launch of Bangabandhu-1 involved two phases until the successful communication transmission. The phases are:
- The Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) or the Launch
This phase is supposed to take 10 days to arrive at the next phase.
- Satellite in Orbit
This phase is supposed to take at least 20 days.
To bring Bangabandhu-1 under complete, it would take at least 20 days. Once active, the satellite would shift to three ground stations in Italy, USA, and Korea. The three stations would play a vital role in moving the satellite 300km to its assigned position.
The carrying rocket, Falcon 9, consists of four parts. Bangabandhu-1 is positioned on top, followed by the adapter. Below the adaptor lies the Stage-2 of the rocket, followed by the lowest section is Stage-1.
Stage-1 involves firing and carrying the spacecraft upwards with incredible speed. After giving the satellite proper elevation, the Stage-1 rockets will break loose, and fall apart, returning to earth, commencing the Stage-2 rockets.
Stage-2 would elevate the spacecraft to 35,700km before being thrown away. The spacecraft would linger in orbit keeping a distance from the satellite. It would take a few more days until the satellite is brought under complete control.
The 3,600-kilogram satellite traveled vertically up to 36,000-kilometer from the launch pad. Then, it made adjustments for orbit. The satellite is expected to take about 10 days for completing its adjustment for the orbit.
Launching Process at a Glance
- Launching Pad: the Cape Carnival Launching Pad, USA
- Carrying Rocket: Falcon 9
- Transported By: SpaceX
- Stages for Successful Elevation
- Stage-1: the rocket fired up and carried the satellite upwards
- Stage-2: the Stage-1 rocket has fallen back to Earth, commencing the Stage-2. In this stage, the spacecraft is carried to 35,700km
- Initial Stations to Control the Satellite: US, Italy, and Korea
- Chronicles: the Early Orbit Phase will take 10 days
Another 20 days will be taken to make Bangabandhu-1 fully functional
How the Historic Event Unfolded
- November 11, 2017, Paris, France: the Government of Bangladesh signed a contract with the manufacturer, Thales Alenia for the construction of Bangabandhu-1. The contract was $248 million. The contract included the construction of 3500-kilogram Bangabandhu-1.
- December 16, 2017: the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) initially projected the launch to take place on December 16, 2017.
- January 2018; Orbital Slot: the Government of Bangladesh purchased an orbital slot for its satellite from the International Intersputnik Organization of Moscow. The lease was given for 15 years and was valued at $27.5 million.
- SpaceX: SpaceX is the American space transportation firm. The firm was scheduled to launch Bangabandhu-1. SpaceX confirmed that the satellite will be launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center; Florida, USA.
- May 11, 2018: the launch of Bangabandhu-1 was scheduled. However, the lunch was canceled just after the Falcon-9 rocket entered startup mode. Just about two minutes before liftoff, the rocket threw an abort.
- May 12, 2018: Bangabandhu-1 was successfully launched into space. The satellite was carried by a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket. The launch was live streamed live across the world. And, the satellite was launched from the Cape Carnival launching pad in Florida.
Why Did Bangladesh Need a Satellite?
The concept of Bangabandhu-1 was gestated in order to reduce Bangladesh’s reliance on foreign countries. Policymakers, experts, engineers, and people related with the project hope that Bangabandhu-1 will introduce to the country’s digitization process.
The Government of Bangladesh wants to achieve complete digitization of the country by 2020. By 2020, Bangladesh is expected to undergo massive changes and transformation in terms of communication, technology. Bangabandhu-1 is expected to lead a big step forward.
Bangladesh expects to reduce a huge amount of money sent to foreign nations for the use of satellite technology. The independence from foreign satellite services is a huge step forward to leading space research and exploration.
Researchers are optimistic about Bangabandhu-1 vastly helping the expansion of communication and internet services. There are remote areas in Bangladesh where telecommunication services still remained out of coverage.
Bangabandhu-1 can make the Internet and telecommunication services feasible and available for those areas. The Information and Communication Technology Ministry of Bangladesh confirmed that more than 750 union parishad in the country still have no Internet connectivity.
However, with the advent of satellite technology in Bangladesh, the government expect to bring the union parishads under the coverage with broadband internet.
The major part of the benefit of Bangabandhu is expected to be the dedicated telecommunication services on unexpected natural cataclysms. During unexpected natural disasters, telecommunication services are likely to go off. However, with Bangabandhu-1, the nation is expected to curb such trouble.
Satellite network plays an important role in ensuring continuous telecommunication services. In the event of unexpected disasters, traditional telecommunication networks tend to collapse. Satellite network will provide seamless telecommunication services.
Besides ensuring solid telecommunication service, Bangabandhu-1 will prove effective in surveillance and national security.
Bangabandhu-1 will play a big role in adopting space technology in the country. The developed nations will sure look at Bangladesh with a different point of view after its successful journey. Bangabandhu-1 is the most sophisticated project in the history of Bangladesh.
Background History: Bangabandhu-1
It was back in 2008 when Bangladesh made efforts for space venturing projects. Back then, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission requested the International Telecommunication Union for the allocation of orbital slot 102 east.
Bangladesh wanted the orbital slot 102 east for launching its own satellites. But, about 20 countries objected to the allocation of that particular slot for Bangladesh. The countries objected on the basis of existing business relationships that, they claimed were likely to be hurt by Bangabandhu-1’s presence.
Then, in 2013, the BTRC struck a deal with the Russian-Intersputnik and rented the 119.1 degrees east orbital slot. The deal was valued at 221 crore BDT. Bangladesh will be able to use the slot for 15 years. Besides 119.1 degrees east, Bangladesh also sought for 69 degrees east and 135 degrees east.
After the deal on the slot, all Bangladesh needed was a satellite. To achieve this objective, Bangladesh signed a contract with the French company, Thales Alenia for satellite construction. The project was expected to be completed on December 16, 2017.
Although the satellite was scheduled for liftoff on Victory Day 2017, the launch was postponed for subsequent natural disasters. During that time, Florida was embattled with Hurricane Irma and subsequent floods.
The launch has been delayed eight times until May 11, 2018. On May 11, 2018, the Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX aborted the mission due to the technical error. Due to a false signal from the ground, Falcon 9 aborted the mission at T minus 58 seconds.
Successful deployment of Bangabandhu Satellite-1 to geostationary transfer orbit confirmed. pic.twitter.com/aX7kRQtBpZ
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 11, 2018
Bangabandhu-1 Satellite at a Glance
- Carrying Rocket: Falcon 9, Block 5
- Launching Location: LC-39, Kennedy Space Center
- Manufacturer: Thales Alenia Space
- Launched By: SpaceX
- Controlled By: BTRC and Thales
- Satellite Weight: 3,600 kilograms
- Orbit Location: 119.1 degrees East longitudinal geostationary slot
- Cost: 2,765.66 crore BDT
- Lifespan: 15 years
Bangabandhu-1 Satellite Benefits
“With this, we entered a new era,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Of course, Bangabandhu-1 satellite is a big step forward to achieving Digital Bangladesh. However, everyone is wondering what benefits we will be able to reap from the satellite. We do have slower Internet connection compared with other South Asian nations.
Changing telecommunication generation hasn’t proved fruitful at all, rather it proved how ineffective the telecommunication service in reality. Therefore, most of us are expecting it to change for good with the launch of Bangabandhu-1.
Will we really have a fast Internet connection?
Will it significantly reduce the cost of Internet and telecommunication technology?
Will it bring the people living beyond the range of telecommunication technology to digitization?
Project officials, when mentioning the benefits of the satellite, confirmed that the Bangabandhu-1 satellite would contribute immensely to the digital advancement of the country.
Below is a list of benefits and opportunities Bangabandhu-1 will create:
- Independence from Foreign Operators
Currently, Bangladesh depends on foreign operators for satellite connectivity. Bangladesh spends as much as $14 million a year for renting bandwidth from those foreign operators. With the launch of Bangabandhu-1, project officials are expecting to save the foreign exchange.
- Earning Foreign Currency by Renting
Bangabandhu-1 Satellite has 40 ku-band and c-band transponders. The project officials reserved 20 transponders of all 40 for rent. Of course, satisfying domestic needs is the priority. By renting transponders to the countries in need, Bangladesh stands to earn foreign currency.
Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company is tasked with overseeing the business of Bangabandhu-1. The company is already in the process of renting out capacity to Indonesia and the Philippines. This is confirmed by the managing director of the company.
Besides Indonesia and the Philippines, there are two more countries on the list of prospective clients.
- DTH Service
Direct-to-Home (DTH) service allows you to enjoy access to worldwide TV entertainment easier. To ensure faster and easier access to worldwide TV, a number of transponders are reserved in Bangabandhu-1.
- Internet Service in Remote Parts
There are many hard to reach areas in Bangladesh where Internet service can’t be accessed to, or Internet service is a luxury. Such remote parts include the Chittagong Hill Tracts, hilly parts, coastal areas, haors, and deep-sea zones.
The Bangabandhu-1 satellite will play an important role in delivering digital services to such areas.
- Weather Forecasting
The Bangabandhu-1 satellite will be able to deliver more accurate and up-to-date weather data. Moreover, during natural disasters, such as cyclones, land communications break down. The Bangabandhu-1 satellite will provide vital data and telecommunication services in such situations.
How To Track Bangabandhu Sattelite Online?
- Use Your Android Phone and download this app and install on your Mobile: Click Here To Download
- User your iPhone or iPad and install this app and start tracking: Download Now
- You can also track this from your computer as well. Follow this link: http://www.n2yo.com/
Bangabandhu-1 will, no doubt, usher a new era in Digital Bangladesh. Just launching the satellite isn’t enough, we need to have a capable team standing by to take full advantage of it. We also need to have a prudent business strategy in place to ensure negotiations and business relationships that don’t put us on the losing end.