Bangladesh to take final decision on second satellite by April

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Bangladesh to take final decision on second satellite by April

A consulting firm will begin working on finalising the satellite’s category this month, according to Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited or BCSCL.

Telecoms Minister Mustafa Jabbar said the firm’s report would soon recommend the type of satellite Bangladesh needs. “Our work is swiftly progressing for the launch of the Bangabandhu-2 satellite by 2023.”

BCSCL Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood said that the government reached a $200,000 agreement with PwC for the launch of Bangladesh’s second commercial satellite. The firm will present a report on the satellite by March.

The government plans to launch the satellite keeping the scope of using it for weather, military and security purposes in addition to communications, Mahmood said.

“The firm will let us know what kind of satellite would facilitate these operations and we will reach a final decision by April,” he added.

The use of the first commercial satellite of the country, Bangabandhu-1, was limited to communication operations because it was a geostationary communication satellite. Other types of satellite include remote sensing, navigation, geocentric orbit types and polar satellites — each serving different purposes.

BCSCL had earlier said the second satellite would be a hybrid.

The government appointed US-based Space Partnership International to design the first satellite in 2012. Later, the BTRC signed an over Tk 19.51 billion deal with Thales Alenia for the satellite system.

A SpaceX rocket blasted off carrying the satellite into orbit early on May 12, 2018 from Cape Canaveral, Florida and Bangladesh subsequently became the 57th country to launch a satellite.

The country gained full ownership and control of the Bangabandhu-1 satellite six months after its launch.

Showing optimism over launching the second satellite in this tenure of the government, Mahmood said, “The government plans to launch this satellite at its own expense.”

After determining what sort of satellite needs this time, an international tender will be issued.

Minister Jabbar said, “There will be no lack of funds for Bangabandhu-2 because the government has made it a priority project.”

Both Jabbar and Mahmood expect that the cost of the second satellite would be lower than that of the first.

“We have all the infrastructural facilities, including ground stations, after the launch of the Bangabandhu-1 satellite. So those costs would not be necessary for the launch of the second satellite,” Mahmood pointed out.

Two years after the launch of Bangabandhu-1 satellite-1, the satellite company has started running on its own income. The satellite has 40 transponders — 14 C-band, 26 Ku-band.

Now the income from the satellite is on the rise, Mahmood said. BCSCL has finalised contracts with Dutch-Bangla Bank and Eastern Bank to expand the satellite’s commercial scope, he added.

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