The ground stations of the Bangabandhu-1 satellite are not ready yet though the country’s maiden satellite is set to take off on May 4.
Authorities are expecting to get the ground stations ready by June.The satellite will be controlled by two ground stations, one in Gazipur’s Joydebpur and another in Rangamati’s Betbunia.
Posts and telecommunications division secretary Shyam Sunder Sikder expressed disappointment over the delay while visiting the under-construction Joydebpur earth station recently.
“The honourable secretary asked the authorities concerned to address this issue,” Bangabandhu-1 satellite project director, who accompanied the secretary during the visit, told the daily sun.
He also informed that France firm Thales Alenia Space, the contractor of Bangabandhu satellite project, hired local Spectra International Ltd for civil work on the ground station.
During the visit, the posts and telecommunications division secretary also expressed disappointment over the use of locally-produced transformers at Joydebpur Ground Station. He asked the authorities to use the types of equipment as stated in the specifications.
The secretary also asked the officials concerned to build a protective wall for the Betbunia ground station.The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission signed a $248-million deal with Thales Alenia Space to manufacture and launch the satellite in November 2015.
SpaceX, the US-based aerospace firm that will operate the launching, has set up a temporary ground station for the satellite in its aerospace facility.
Country’s maiden satellite Bangabandhu-1 will start commercial operations from August this year subject to its launch into the orbital slot at 119.1 Degrees East tentatively on May 4.
The American firm SpaceX has already started its pre-launch preparations to launch the satellite.
Bangladesh’s first communication satellite Bangabandhu-1 has already been shipped from France to Florida of the US for launching into the orbit.
Falcon 9, one of the SpaceX’s finest launch vehicles will be used for Bangabandhu-1.
The satellite will have 40 transponders, of which 14 in C-band and 26 in Ku-band. One transponder is equivalent to 36 MHz.
BTRC Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood earlier said 20 transponders of the satellite will be deployed for domestic users while the remaining 20 will be sold in the international market. The satellite has 15 years of mission lifespan.
The Ku-band will cover Bangladesh and its territorial water bodies of the Bay of Bengal, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines, the BTRC officials said.
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.
Now, Bangladesh meets its demand for satellite connectivity by renting bandwidth from foreign operators at a cost of about $14 million annually. Once launched, Bangabandhu-1 will save the foreign currency on satellite connectivity.
Bangabandhu-1 satellite will offer video services for Direct-to-Home (DTH), e-learning, Tele-medicine, Family Planning, Farming etc while voice service to cellular backhaul, disaster recovery etc and data service for internet, SCADA, SOHO as well as business-to-business (VSAT) etc.