Two years ago to the day, Bangladesh’s first satellite, Bangabandhu Satellite-1, was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on a Falcon 9.
The successful launch was celebrated across the country, with extensive media coverage.
Bangabandhu Satellite-1 contributes to boosting the country’s economy by providing all citizens with a wide range of telecommunications services (direct-to-home TV, radio, telemedicine, education and internet access). Hardly surprising that it was named in honor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the “father of the country”. Bangladesh was eagerly awaiting its first telecom satellite, since it helps the country affirm its independence in this area, and allow it to offer communications and broadcasting services to a number of neighboring countries, including Nepal, Myanmar and Bhutan.
Thales Alenia Space’s contribution
Built on Thales Alenia Space’s Spacebus 4000B2 platform, the satellite is fitted with both Ku and C-band transponders. Its coverage zone spans Bangladesh and neighboring regions. Positioned at 119.1° East, it will provide Ku-band services for Bangladesh and its territorial waters in the Gulf of Bengal, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Indonesia, while also offering C-band capacity over the entire region.
Thales Alenia Space was prime contractor for this turnkey system, working for the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). We were responsible for the design, construction, testing and in-orbit delivery of the satellite.
Thales Alenia Space was also in charge of the ground segment, based on the dedicated SpaceOps solution for mission configuration and monitoring. This work package includes two buildings, for the satellite control center and operational network center, which is based on Thales Alenia Space’s comprehensive SpaceGate solution. Our partner in Bangladesh, Spectra Engineers Ltd., handled civil engineering for the ground infrastructure.
Like Brazil, Turkey and Argentine, exemplary cases of successful partnerships between Thales Alenia Space and countries wanting to join the space club and enhance their autonomy in space technology, the partnership set up for Bangabandhu Satellite-1 allowed Bangladesh to become a full-fledged member of the space community.
Driving economic growth and recognition in Asia
Bangladesh’s satellite contributes to bridging the digital divide in both large cities and rural areas. These isolated villages will gradually benefit from all the advantages of digital connectivity.
Bangabandhu Satellite-1 is a strong symbol, conveying the nation’s ambitious hopes and spurring the country’s economy, while also generating jobs. Even the slightest facts and figures posted on social media have stimulated unprecedented enthusiasm. The satellite is a fantastic driver of economic growth and recognition in Asia, supporting improvements in a number of different sectors across the region, including defense, telemedicine, training, online searches and videoconference services.
Bridging the digital divide worldwide
As reflected in Bangabandhu Satellite-1, Thales Alenia Space has always been a key industry partner in efforts to bridge the digital divide around the world. For example, we are now building EUTELSAT KONNECT VHTS, an advanced very high throughput satellite. This extremely powerful spacecraft (in the 500 Gbps class) will be able to bring high-speed internet connectivity even to the most isolated areas in Europe, zones where it’s difficult or impossible to set up terrestrial infrastructures.
Thales Alenia Space is also prime contractor for Indonesia’s SATRIA satellite. Also working to reduce the digital divide, like Bangabandhu Satellite-1, SATRIA is designed to connect some 145,000 different zones not currently linked via satellite or terrestrial networks, including 90,000 schools, 40,000 hospitals and public buildings, along with government facilities. Also a very high throughput satellite, SATRIA will help Indonesia develop its digital capabilities.
Through its different product lines, including proven expertise in constellations, Thales Alenia Space offers custom-tailored solutions that meet the emerging expectations of the telecommunications market. From satellites based on the Spacebus 4000 B2 platform, well suited to regional operators, to the Spacebus NEO family, the foundation of very high throughput satellites (VHTS) that enhance connectivity around the world, and Space Inspire, the latest all-digital and reconfigurable in-orbit product line, Thales Alenia Space delivers tailored connectivity and mobility solutions to operators from around the world to help bridge the digital divide.
Today, celebrations are in order! Long live Bangabandhu Satellite-1, a very special satellite that we are very proud of having made, and one that all Bangladeshis are proud of, since it has become a priceless new part of their culture.
Copyrights: © Thales Alenia Space/Briot - © Thales Alenia Space/Imag[IN] - © Thales Alenia Space/Master Image Programmes