Hurricane Irma leads to delay in launching of Bangladesh’s first satellite
Dhaka: The launch of Bangladesh’s first satellite Bangabandhu-1 in Cape Canaveral, Florida, has been delayed due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, officials have said.
“The Cape Canaveral launch pad in Florida is currently inactive due to the adverse weather. It was due to launch satellites of South Korea and Bulgaria but those dates have been cancelled,” a report in bdnews24.com quoted Director of the satellite project Mohammad Mesbahuzzaman, as saying on Wednesday.
The hurricane hit Florida on Sunday causing huge devastation and left more than 3.4 million people without electricity.
Bangladesh was preparing to launch Bangabandhu-1 on December 16, the Victory Day, this year using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket at the Florida launch pad.
“It takes two months to prepare the pad for launching any satellite using the SpaceX facility. The date previously fixed for Bangladesh now seems to be uncertain as schedule of two other satellites has been changed,” Mesbahuzzaman said.
He added that the System Requirement Review and the Preliminary Design Review were done for Bangabandhu-1 and constructions of engineering antenna, communication and service module were also completed.
The satellite would be taken to Cape Canaveral launch pad in a special cargo plane after all the tests and reviews are completed.
The satellite was given a green signal at a cabinet meeting on October 21 in 2015, and on November 11 same year, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) signed a loan deal worth $243 million with Thales Group to buy the ‘satellite system.’
“The satellite is expected to save $1.7 lakh yearly that is currently spent on renting foreign satellites. It will contain 40 transponders; Bangladesh will use 20 and rent out the rest,” the bdnews24 report added.
The satellite will be controlled by two ground stations which will be build at Gazipur’s Joydebpur and Rangamati’s Betbunia on the land owned by Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL).