Published: Sun, May 13, 2018
Science | By Dan Gutierrez

Bangladesh's first satellite Bangabandhu-I on its way to orbit

It marks the first flight of the Block 5 batch of Falcon 9 rockets, which incorporate a number of upgrades to improve performance, increase the service life of the booster and reduce turnaround time between recovery and relaunch.

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also joined the proud nation in witnessing the milestone event for the country's communication sector.

He, along with hundreds of Bangladeshis including Prime Minister's ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy, watched the first 36 minutes of the launch.

Liftoff occurred at 4:14 p.m. EDT and Bangabandhu Satellite-1 was deployed into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) approximately 33 minutes after launch.

Thousands of people across the world witnessed the launching, which was telecasted by different television channels and was webcasted by the SpaceX. "I would like to greet and congratulate the people of the country on this glorious occasion", she said in a message on Saturday marking the launching of the country's first satellite.

Today's launch came after an abort on Thursday, which occurred at the T -1 minute mark due to a ground systems auto abort caused by a ground relay that had failed to reset after a system test.

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The Block 5 upgrades to Falcon 9 include more powerful engines, a stronger heat shield for the trip back through Earth's atmosphere and new retractable landing legs.

The government took the Bangabandhu-I project in May 2015 and assigned the Thales Alenia by signing a $248- million deal in November same year. Later, on March 29, the satellite was shitted to Florida.

Finally, the satellite will be controlled and maintained from ground stations in Bangladesh. The satellite has 15 years for mission life span while another 3 years for its design. "With launching of Bangabandhu Satellite-1, we're hoisting our national flag in the space".

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, etc and data service for internet, SCADA, SOHO as well as business-to-business (VSAT).

It will also provide broadband connectivity to rural areas throughout the country.

Bangabandhu-1 makes a strong statement for us as a nation.

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