The Bangabandhu Satellite-1 (BS-1), the first geostationary communication satellite of Bangladesh is scheduled to be launched on 04 May 2018. It would take eight days to reach the orbit at 119.1 degrees east.
The satellite designed and manufactured by Thales Alenia Space is named after the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujbir Rahman. The $248 million US Dollar satellite has a capacity of 1,600 megahertz and will have 40 Ku and C-band transponders and the physical equipment of the space capsule which measures the capacity. BS-1 will offer video services for DTH, Telemedicine, and Farming, etc., voice services to cellular backhaul and similar fields, and data services for internet.
The Ku band will be covering Bangladesh and its territorial water bodies of Bay of Bengal, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines. While, the C-band will be covering Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and portions of Kazakhstan. Half of the satellite’s capacity will be utilized for the national usage while the other half will be rented out.
Two ground stations will be built at Gazipur’s Joydebpur and Rangamati’s Betbunia to control the satellite.
- On 21 October 2015, The Cabinet Purchase Committee approved to buy the satellite system.
- Later, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) signed a deal of Tk 2,000 crore with Thales Alenia Space to construct country’s first ever satellite project.
- On 9 September 2016, an agreement of an amount of Tk 1,400 crore was signed with Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) for financing the project.
- On 16 December 2017, SpaceX planned to launch the satellite aboard Falcon-9 rocket but was postponed due to the damage that was done to the pad by the Hurricane Irma. It took two months to prepare the pad for launching any satellite from the SpaceX facility situated in Florida.
- On 28 March 2018, the satellite was shipped from the warehouse located in Cannes, France aboard a specialized cargo aircraft to Florida, the United States for its launch next month.
- On 30 March 2018, SpaceX received BS-1 and carried out necessary work for the launch.
- The satellite was scheduled to be launched on 24 April 2018 but was deferred.
- The Bangabandhu-1 satellite is scheduled to be launched on May 4.
Currently, Bangladesh meets its satellite connectivity demand by renting bandwidth from foreign operators and the country pays Tk 14 million per year for it. The project implementation will help Bangladesh save and even earn by renting some of its capacity.