Update May 11, 2018

Dhaka 6-04 am, 11-August, 2020

Bangabandhu-I launching process resumes tonight after last minute auto abort

Mirajul Moin Joy

11 May 2018, Nirapad News: The launching process of Bangabandhu-I satellite will resume tonight after it was postponed early hours of Friday due to ‘standard ground system auto abort’.

“Standing down today (Friday) due to a standard ground system auto abort,” SpaceX tweeted early today.

Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy, who is leading a Bangladesh delegation to Florida, USA, to witness the satellite launching, said in a Facebook status that the final minutes of the launch was fully controlled by computers.

He said if the computer finds any measurement is out of normal, it aborts the launch.

“Today it aborted the launch just 42 seconds before launch. SpaceX will check everything and attempt the launch again tomorrow at the same time. This is quite normal for rocket launches as you cannot take any risk,” Joy said.

SpaceX in its tweet said the rocket and satellite “are in good health” and its teams are working on resuming the launching process at 4:14 pm US local time, which will be 2.14 am Bangladesh time on May 12 (Saturday).

Earlier, SpaceX completed all the processes to launch the nation’s dream satellite last night 4:14 pm US local time and 2:14 am Bangladesh time. The schedule was even forwarded by half an hour and then again deferred by two hours before the auto abort of the launching process.

Now, SpaceX will resume the launching process tonight to send the country’s first geostationary communication satellite to the orbit from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA.

Falcon 9, the finest rocket of American firm SpaceX, will carry the satellite to the orbit from the Cape Canaveral launching pad.

“Launching of Bangabandhu-I satellite is an instance of technology-led transformation of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy,” said State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak, who is now in Florida to witness the momentous event.

He said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman initiated the task of entering the space age by setting up the country’s first ever satellite earth station in 1974.

People all of ages across the country were awake even after mid-night (Thursday night) to watch the live telecast of the country’s another proud event. Many people especially the expatriate Bangladeshis in different countries also sit in front of televisions and computers to see the live telecast and webcast of the satellite launching.

With sending the Bangabandhu-I to the orbit, Bangladesh will become the 57th country to launch a geostationary communication satellite.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood Mahmood earlier said Falcon-9 will pull the 3.7-tonne satellite vertically up to 36,000 km from the launch pad before making adjustments for orbit.

The launching has two phases. The first is the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP), and the second phase is Satellite in Orbit. The LEOP phase will take 10 days while the second will take 20 days.

Mahmood said after completing and traveling several processes, few more days will be required to tame the satellite at its Gazipur’s Joydebpur and Rangamati’s Betbunia ground stations.

Manufactured by the Thales Alenia Space of France, Bangladesh will operate satellite from 119.1 degree East using a payload comprising 26 Ku- Band and 14 C-Band transponders to deliver focused telecommunications coverage to Bangladesh. One transponder is equivalent to 36 MHz.

Ku-band covers Bangladesh and its territorial area of the Bay of Bengal, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines. C-band covers Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and portions of Kazakhstan.

SpaceX had previously planned to launch the satellite using Falcon-9 rockets on December 16, 2017, but the launch was postponed due to damage from Hurricane Irma.

The government took the Bangabandhu-I project in May 2015 and assigned the Thales Alenia by signing a US$ 248- million deal in November same year.

Thales Alenia completed the manufacturing works of the satellite few months ago and kept it in a warehouse in Cannes of France. Later, on March 29, the satellite was shitted to Florida.

Two ground stations for controlling the satellite have already been built at Joydebpur of Gazipur and Rangamati’s Betbunia. The satellite has 15 years for mission life span while another 3 years for its design.

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).

Bangabandhu-1 Satellite is to establish Bangladesh’s own stake on the space opening up enormous opportunities providing three types of advantages involving fields of information and communication technology (ICT) and broadcasting industry alongside brightening Bangladesh image.

Experts and officials said the country’s first geostationary communication satellite will firstly help expansion of internet and telecommunication services in remote and rugged areas, which still remain beyond coverage.

It will also save foreign currency expenditure while the local TV channels’ huge viewership, particularly in the Middle East countries, is expected to be its main commercial users. On the other hand, the country can earn foreign currency by renting the Bangabandhu-1 transponders to other countries.

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