Bangladesh is set to become the 57th country to launch a geostationary communication satellite.
The countdown for the much-sought launch of Bangladesh's first satellite, Bangabandhu-1, has begun as all the necessary preparations in this regard have been completed.
The authorities concerned, including the Bangladesh delegation and SpaceX, held a review meeting in New York over the launching preparation Wednesday morning (local time).
State Minister for Information Tarana Halim, State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood had attended the meeting.
After the meeting, Tarana said: "SpaceX has informed us that Bangabandhu-1 is ready for launch at the launching pad. If the weather remains favourable, the satellite will be launched around 4:12pm local time."
Zunaid said: "Bangabandhu-1 will start its journey to space right on time."
Also Read- How will the satellite benefit Bangladesh?
A press conference would be held at a hotel in New York around 11am local time on Friday after the launching of the satellite, he added.
The satellite would provide services in three categories – broadcasting, telecommunication and data communication – and also help boost the development of Bangladesh’s telecom sector, Zunaid said.
According to sources at SpaceX, the satellite would be launched in-between 2:12am to 4:22am BdST on Friday. A Falcon 9 rocket would deliver Bangabandhu-1 to a geostationary transfer orbit from Cape Kennedy Center launching pad of Orlando in Florida.
The Bangladesh delegation, led by Tarana Halim, arrived in Florida on Tuesday to witness the launching.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed Joy, Tarana, Zunaid, Shahjahan Mahmood, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on ICT Affairs Imran Ahmed and other high officials concerned would be present at the launching ceremony.
State-owned Bangladesh Television (BTV) is also set to broadcast live the event.
Bangabandhu-1 Satellite Project Director Mesbahuzzaman told UNB that 20 days would be needed to bring the satellite under full control. Once the satellite is ready to be operated, he said, the control would be transferred to the ground stations in Gazipur’s Joydebpur and Rangamati’s Betbunia in Bangladesh.
He said visitors would have to remain three to four kilometres away from the launch pad to watch the take-off, after which the satellite would remain visible for around seven minutes.
"The 3.7-tonne satellite will travel vertically up to 36,000 km from the launch pad before making adjustments for orbit, and it will take 10 days for that," Mesbahuzzaman said.
The launch process has two phases -- the first is the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) and the second phase is Satellite in Orbit. LEOP will take 10 days and the second phase 20 days, he added.
With 1,600 megahertz capacity, Bangabandhu-1 would have 40 transponders and the physical equipment of the space capsule that measures the capacity.
On October 21, 2015, the Cabinet Purchase Committee had approved the project to buy the satellite system.
Later, BTRC signed a deal involving Tk2,000 crore with Thales Alenia Space to construct the first-ever satellite project of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh will be the 57th country to have a geostationary communication satellite when Bangabandhu-1 is launched into the orbital slot on 119.1 degree east longitude.
The slot was bought from Russian satellite company Intersputnik at $28 million in January 2015.