14 Dec 2017, Thursday

Bangabandhu satellite launch deferred to March

By Desk Report

Published : 2017-11-29 16:13:46

The launch of Bangladesh’s first commercial satellite Bangabandhu-1 has been deferred and has been pushed down to an approximate schedule in March.

Construction of the satellite is complete, Shahjahan Mahmood, chairman for Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) said today.

A precise date has not been set yet, but a launch is probable in March, he told during a meeting of Telecom Reporters’ Network at his office this afternoon.

The telecom regulatory body’s chief said he visited France and witnessed the complete satellite last week. It will be transported to the US for launch by March.

The sophisticated and highly technical government project at a cost of Tk 2,967 crore. The satellite's structure is being built by a French firm -- Thales Alenia Space.

Bangabandhu-1 is expected to provide services to all South Asian countries as well as Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, if its frequency is properly coordinated, according to project documents.

Bangladesh currently meets its demand for satellite connectivity by renting bandwidth from foreign operators which costs the country about $14 million a year. Once launched, Bangabandhu-1 will save the foreign currency expenditure.

The lifespan of the satellite will be 15 years, which will allow the country to earn $1 billion by leasing out the transponders and another $1.5 billion by selling other services.

In November 2015, the BTRC signed a $248-million deal with Thales Alenia Space to manufacture and launch the country's first satellite.

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