Bangladesh’s first geostationary communication satellite Bangabandhu-I is going to start its maiden commercial operation through the transmission of South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship in September.
To this end, Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited (BCSCL), the organisation to manage the Bangabandhu-I, has started to install necessary equipment to the local satellite television channels, said officials.
Talking to BSS today, BCSCL Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood said they have started the procedures of broadcasting the SAFF Championship using Bangabandhu-I through Bangladesh Television (BTV).
Terming this broadcast as “pre-test” of commercial operation, he said: “All the necessary tests have been completed successfully since the satellite has taken position into the orbit. . .Now, the time has come to move ahead.”
About the preparation of local TV channels, Dr Mahmood said BCSCL engineers are working with them to install the necessary equipment.
“Some equipment regarding the satellite connection is needed to be installed for switching over to Bangabandhu-I from other satellite,” said the chairman, adding, “The equipment would be brought by air shipments if it is required.”
Replying to a query, he said Thales Alenia Space, the manufacturing company of the satellite, is yet to handover the control of the two ground stations -primary one in Gazipur and secondary one in Rangamati, to the BCSCL.
The 12th edition of the SAFF Championship, the biennial international men’s football championship of South Asia organized by the SAFF and Bangladesh is hosting it from September 4 to 15.
Bangabandhu-I was successfully launched from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida of United States 16:14 local time (02:14 BST) on May 11. Most modern rocket “Block 5” version of the Falcon 9 of SpaceX lifted the satellite for the orbit located at 119.1 degree east and after ten days of launch, it took position in the desired location (orbital slot).
According to the agreement, Thales Alenia Space of France will handle the satellite along with local engineers for next three years. To this end, an 18-member team of local engineers has been trained up.
Bangladesh will operate satellite from 119.1 degree east using a payload comprising 26 Ku-Band and 14 C-Band transponders to deliver focused telecommunications coverage to Bangladesh. One transponder is equivalent to 36 MHz.
Ku-band covers Bangladesh and its territorial area of the Bay of Bengal, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines. C-band covers Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and portions of Kazakhstan.
The government took the Bangabandhu-I project in May 2015 and assigned the Thales Alenia by signing a $248-million deal in November the same year.
The satellite has 15 years for mission life span while another three years for its design.
The satellite 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, and data service for internet, SCADA, SOHO as well as business-to-business (VSAT).