#thenewscompany – State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim today said country’s first satellite Bangabandhu-1 is almost prepared to launch in December this year.
“If the weather remains favourable, Bangabandhu-1 satellite will be launched in the first or last week of December from the Cape Canaveral launching pad in Florida of United States through SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle,” the state minister said. The state minister, who has recently witnessed the manufacturing works of the satellite by Thales Alenia Space in France, revealed it at a press conference at her ministry office.
She, however, said they have also kept the first week of January as the alternative schedule for the launch if the weather becomes adverse. “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to connect with the launching of the satellite through video conference from Dhaka instead of visiting Florida to celebrate the country’s auspicious event with the people,” said Tarana.
Mentioning that the satellite has been manufactured in two places of France, she said: “Now, the different parts, including main body, antenna and solar panels, of the satellite will be put together, and all the works are going on as per our stipulated time.”
Thales Alenia Space will deliver the satellite to the SpaceX in November 9 for launch, said the state minister, adding: “Before the handover, they will carry out some tests such as vibration tolerance, function of solar panels as a part of final checkout.”
Citing that the satellite will have 15 years of lifespan, she said they will launch Bangabandhu-2, Bangabandhu-3 satellite gradually. Tarana said the satellite has 40 transponders, of which 20 will be kept for the country and the commercial operation of the satellite is expected to start in June, 2018. Replying to a query, the state minister said preliminary works of the ground station in Gazipur will be completed in August while the secondary ground station in Betbunia will be finished within one or two months later.
Formation of Bangladesh Satellite Communication Limited (BSCL) is on the process, she said, adding that Thales Alenia as per the agreement will provide training to local engineers and other assistances. In November, 2015, Bangladesh struck a Taka 1,951 crore deal with Thales Alenia Space to implement the project. Bangladesh will be the 57th satellite country when it launched in the orbital slot on 119.1 degree east longitude that will also have a capacity of 40 transponders — one transponder is equivalent to 36 MHz.
Bangladesh has bought the orbital slot from Intersputnik, a Russian satellite company, for US$ 28 million in early of 2015.