Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar today said the launch of country’s first communication satellite “Bangabandhu-I” has been rescheduled for May 7.
“Bangabandhu-I was earlier scheduled to be launched on May 4 from Florida, but now May 7 has been fixed as the new date for the launch,” he added.
The minister revealed the new schedule while addressing a roundtable discussion “Bangabandhu Satellite: Potentiality in Space” at the auditorium of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
“Although May 7 is the new possible date, we know it could be deferred again before the launching,” said Jabbar.
He said a 42-member team will be in Florida during the launch while the milestone will be celebrated nationally after the launching.
“We are working on Bangabandhu-I but we have to mull over Bangabandhu-II, III and IV, and Bangabandhu-II will be an inevitable thinking as the supplementary of Bangabandhu-I,” he opined.
BTRC Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood said SpaceX, the American firm which is assigned to launch the satellite to the orbit, this morning informed that weather would be favorable on May 7 for the launch.
“We hope this date (May 7) will be final, but we have to rely on weather condition in Florida,” he said, adding they (SpaceX) will confirm in four to five days.
Bangabandhu-I project Manager Mohammad Mesbah Uzzaman said necessary works in ground station are in the final stage while other formalities have been completed.
He said Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX will lift the 3.5-metric tonne Bangabandhu-I communications satellite from the Cape Canaveral launching pad and it will take eight days to reach its orbital slot.
Manufactured by the Thales Alenia Space of France, Bangladesh will operate satellite from 119.1o East using a payload comprising 14 C-Band and 26 Ku-Band transponders to deliver focused telecommunications coverage to Bangladesh. One transponder is equivalent to 36 MHz.
SpaceX had previously planned to launch the satellite using Falcon-9 rockets on December 16, 2017, but the launch was postponed due to damage from Hurricane Irma.
Bangabandhu-I project, endorsed by the government in May 2015, assigned the Thales Alenia by signing a $248- million deal in November the same year.
Thales Alenia completed the manufacturing works of Bangabandhu-I a few months ago and kept it in a warehouse in Cannes of France. Later, on March 29, the satellite was shifted to Florida.
Two ground stations for controlling the satellite have already been built at Joydebpur of Gazipur and Rangamati’s Betbunia.
The satellite has 15 years for mission life span while another three years for its design.
Ku-band will cover Bangladesh and its territorial area of the Bay of Bengal, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines. On the other hand, C-band will cover Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and portions of Kazakhstan.
Bangabandhu-I will offer video services for Direct-to-Home (DTH), e-learning, Tele-medicine, Family Planning, Farming etc while voice service to cellular backhaul and disaster recovery, etc and data service for internet, SCADA, SOHO as well as business-to-business (VSAT) etc.