Of them, 18 will run the two ground stations at Gazipur and Rangamati, and the rest will be in charge of the stations' structural and engineering aspects
Bangladesh's first geostationary satellite Bangabandhu-1 has reached its orbit, and will soon begin communicating with its ground stations.
While initially the satellite's operations will be run by the foreign experts provided by its manufacturer, 30 Bangladeshi scientists will eventually take control of the entire operation, officials involved in the project told the Bangla Tribune.
Of them, 18 will run the two ground stations at Gazipur and Rangamati, and the rest will be in charge of the stations' structural and engineering aspects.
The scientists, a team of young men and women, have received training abroad since their recruitment. They are now working under foreign trainers. Trainers from Thales Alenia, the satellite's manufacturer, will continue to supervise and train them for three years.
But the authorities say the talented young team will most likely be able to handle the operation by themselves long before that.
Telecom and ICT Minister Mustafa Jabbar said: “Our youths are doing extraordinary and impressive work.”
Mustafa said he had been to the Gazipur ground control station and spoken to the scientists there.
“They told me what they were capable of. The team comprises of people from many different disciplines. As far as I know four or five of them have studied on aerospace, then there are electrical and computer engineers,” he said.
The minister said three trainers from Thales Alenia were training the young scientists.
“The trainers told me they have a three-year contract, but they feel as though they might be able to return before that. They said these youths were learning so well,” he said.
“They are acquiring the skills so fast that the training period will end long before the stipulated time,” he added.
The minister hoped that this would inspire young people and encourage them to study these subjects.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) acting chairman Jahurul Haque said: “The young guys we recruited are performing very well at the ground stations.
“In the final stage, when the satellite begins communicating after setting into the orbital slot, they will be able to show their prowess,” he said.
A BTRC official involved with the project said these scientists were recruited in October-November last year. They were selected through comprehensive written tests and interviews.
They were sent to Thales Alenia headquarters in France, where they undertook training on satellite operation, repair, maintenance, signalling and observation, among other subjects.
Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited (BCSCL) MD Md Saiful Islam said 30-35 young and highly qualified people were working at the two ground stations and the company office.
“All of them are very qualified and they were selected in that manner,” he said.