BRAC Onnesha is a cubeSat developed, built and tested in Kyushu Institute of Technology by three Bangladeshi post graduate students – Abdulla Hil Kafi, Raihana Shams Islam Antara and Maisun Ibn Monowar. On February 8, BRAC University became the first Bangladeshi educational institution to get its very own nano satellite, developed and assembled by three of its students, using the technology and facilities of a Japanese university.
BRAC Onnesha is shaped as a cube of 10cm edge, capable of completing one orbit 400 kilometres above the ground in 90 minutes and passing over Bangladesh four to six times a day.
CubeSat is a standard for satellites, developed by Professors Bob Twiggs and Jordi Puig-Suari. The exterior shape of the satellite is well defined by the standard, which allows developers to seek cheap and frequent launch opportunities.
On June 4, the nano satellite was launched by SpaceX, FALCON 9 Rocket by its CRS-11 mission to ISS from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA. The ground station has been set up on the rooftop of Building-4 of BRAC University at Mohakhali in the capital.
This week, Weekend Tribune sat down with one of the students, who worked relentlessly on designing Bangladesh's first nano satellite – Maisun Ibn Monowar, and he spoke to us about the features of BRAC Onnesha and its missions in space.
Origin of BRAC Onnesha: BIRDS Project
BIRDS Project or “Joint Global Multi National Project” is a cubeSat constellation project under the leadership of Professor Mengu Cho of Kyushu Institute of Technology. In June 2015, an MOU was signed between BRACU and KyuTech. On February 8, 2017 the satellite was handed over to BRAC University, and the very next day, the satellite was handed over to Japan Aerospace Agency [JAXA] for launch. On June 4, 2017 the satellite was launched as a cargo to the International Space Station. The satellite was deployed on July 7, 2017 as the first candidate.
During its two months of operation time, BRAC Onnesha will perform six missions in total.
Capturing the image of homeland country
Monitoring natural resources is one of the most used applications of satellite technology. The main mission of BIRDS satellites is to capture the pictures of its homeland country, and send it back to the country’s ground station.
Work as a Digi-Singer
BRAC Onnesha will broadcast our national anthem from space. This mission aims to motivate the young enthusiastic minds for a career in space engineering. Anyone with a UHF receiver can receive and listen to our national anthem, played from space.
Single Event Latchup or SEL is a phenomenon related to a harsh space environment. Due to galactic cosmic radiation, microprocessors sometimes experience internal short circuits. This disrupts satellite operation. BIRDS constellation aims to map SEL events and provide a statistical database for interested audience.
Atmospheric drag measurement
By using data from all five of the cubeSats, BIRDS project aims to measure atmospheric drag more reliably by observing the decay rate of satellites. This data will provide more indepth data for our atmosphere and its effect on CubeSat mission.
Precise satellite position detection system
In addition to five countries building satellites, Taiwan and Thailand are also participating in the BIRDS project by sharing their ground station. Seven ground station in total help to track the satellite without using any GPS.
Ground station network
A ground station network can effectively increase the communication window.