Bangladesh launches first ever satellite in the debut for SpaceX's Falcon 9 Block 5

Bangladesh launches first ever satellite in the debut for SpaceX's Falcon 9 Block 5

At 4:14 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on May 11, 2018, Bangabandhu-1, Bangladesh’s first geostationary communications satellite, was launched into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida in the United States. It marked a key milestone for the country and was celebrated throughout Bangladesh.

Bangabandhu-1, named after the nickname of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, founding father of Bangladesh, was launched into its orbital slot on 119.1 degrees east longitude. The satellite's mission is expected to last at least 15 years. Work began on the 7,700-pound (3,700-kilogram) satellite back in 2015, when it was ordered from France-based Thales Alenia Space by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.

The launch was originally planned for May 10 and postponed to take place the following day after an error was found just a minute before launch. A delegation of Bangladeshi officials, led by State Minister for Telecommunications and Post, Tarana Halim, arrived in Florida on Tuesday to witness the successful launch.

Peter B. de Selding, the editor of Space Intel Report tweeted:

The launch also marked a milestone for the company SpaceX, founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk, who was contracted to carry out the launch itself. It was the debut of a new upgrade to their launch vehicle, known as Falcon 9 Block 5, which is a more reusable, higher-thrust  model. SpaceX produced a live webcast of the launch, which can be viewed here:

Bangabandhu-1 will provide satellite television, internet access, and emergency communication services, as well as broadband to rural areas in Bangladesh, and will be operated by the newly-formed state-owned company theBangladesh Communication Satellite Company Ltd,  after having been led by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Committee (the BTRC) up until this point.

According to the Dhaka Tribune, Bangladesh’s annual expenditure for satellite connectivity is currently 14 million USD spent on renting bandwidth from foreign operators. It is predicted that with the launch of Bangabandhu-1, this cost will significantly decrease.

 

This article by Zara Rahman originally appeared on Global Voices on 13/05/2018. Edits have been made to the original.

Image: SpaceX

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