- Global Voices - https://globalvoices.org -

Bangladesh blasts off with their first ever satellite launch into space

Categories: South Asia, Bangladesh, Development, Economics & Business, Good News, Governance, History, Technology

Bangabandhu Satellite-1 Mission at Cape Canaveral, USA. Image from Flickr via Official SpaceX Photos. Public domain.

At 4:14 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on May 11, 2018, Bangabandhu-1 [2], Bangladesh’s first geostationary communications satellite, was launched into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida in the United States. It marked a key milestone for the country and was celebrated throughout Bangladesh.

Bangabandhu-1, named after the nickname of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman [3], founding father of Bangladesh, was launched into its orbital slot [4] on 119.1 degrees east longitude. The satellite's mission is expected to last at least 15 years.

The launch was originally planned for May 10 and postponed [5] to take place the following day after an error was found just a minute before launch. A delegation of Bangladeshi officials, led by State Minister for Telecommunications and Post, Tarana Halim, arrived in Florida [6] on Tuesday to witness the successful launch.

Peter B. de Selding, the editor of Space Intel Report tweeted:

K. Scottt Piel, a software engineer from Kenedy Space Center, tweeted:

Work began on the 7,700-pound (3,700-kilogram) satellite back in 2015, when it was ordered from France-based Thales Alenia Space [20] by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission [21].

The launch also marked a milestone for the company SpaceX [22], who was contracted to carry out the launch itself. It was the debut of a new upgrade to their launch vehicle, known as Falcon 9 [23] Block 5, which is a more reusable, higher-thrust [24] model. SpaceX is an American company founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk. SpaceX produced a live webcast [25] of the launch, which can be viewed online:

Bangabandhu-1 will provide [26] satellite television, internet access, and emergency communication services, as well as broadband to rural areas in Bangladesh, and will be operated by the newly-formed state-owned company the Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Ltd, [27] after having been led by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Committee (the BTRC) up until this point.

According to the Dhaka Tribune [28], Bangladesh’s annual expenditure for satellite connectivity is currently 14 million USD spent on renting bandwidth from foreign operators. It is predicted that with the launch of Bangabandhu-1, this cost will significantly decrease.

The satellite will offer Ku-band coverage over Bangladesh [37] and its territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

On Twitter, Bangladeshi citizens expressed their support for the mission, despite the early hour of the launch.

Farhan Hossain tweeted:

Adnan Ahmed Khan wrote:

However, some like Kazi Didar commented that the huge expenditure for the satellite could be better used to meet some of Bangladesh's basic requirements first:

No matter what, this is being regarded by many as a major achievement for Bangladesh:

Zenith Tweeted:

Raju wrote: