The Bangabandhu Satellite-1 is the 1st Bangladeshi geostationary communications and Broadcasting Satellite. It was manufactured by Thales Alenia Space and launched on 11 May 2018. The project is being implemented by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) working hand-in-hand with US-based Space Partnership International, LLC. and was the first payload launched by a Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket of SpaceX.
Bangladesh Government formed a government-owned Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited, BCSCL with the aim to operate the Bangabandhu Satellite-1.
Bangabandhu-1 launched from Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, USA and utilizes ground control stations built by Thales Alenia Space with its partner Spectra Primary Ground Station in Gazipur and Secondary Ground Station at Betbunia, Rangamati. The satellite is based on the highly secured and reliable Spacebus-4000B2 platform and currently located at longitude 119.09°E.
The Bangabandhu-1 satellite was initially planned to be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket on 16 December 2017, to celebrate Victory day of Bangladesh. Following the lack of firm guarantee from Arianespace for that date, BTRC chose Falcon 9 launch vehicle instead. The satellite is expected to be located at the 119.1° East longitude geostationary slot. It is named after the father of the nation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, often called Bangabandhu. It is designed and manufactured by Thales Alenia Space and its launch provider is SpaceX. The total cost of the satellite was projected to be 248 million US dollars in 2015 (Tk 19.51 billion), financed via a $188.7 million loan from HSBC Holdings plc. Bangabandhu Satellite-1 carries a total of 40 Ku-band and C-band transponders with a capacity of 1600 megahertz and a predicted life span to exceed 15 years. The satellite will expand Ku-band coverage over all of Bangladesh and its nearby waters including the Bay of Bengal, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, East Indian states (West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, Arunachhal Pradeah)and Indonesia. This is coupled with C-band coverage for all aforementioned areas.
Map of satellite’s position
Bangabandhu Satellite-1 was launched at 20:14 UTC on 11 May 2018, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle at the Kennedy Space Center. It is the first payload to be launched using the new Block 5 model of the rocket.
The satellite was originally slated to launch 10 May 2018. However, the rocket carrying the payload triggered an automatic abort as it entered internal power and control at T-58 seconds. Soon after, the rocket launch was pushed back 24 hours, and it was finally launched on 11 May 2018.
Bangabandhu-1 had been previously scheduled to fly on an Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA but Ariane was unable to meet the contractual launch date, which enabled the launch to be switched to its backup launcher, SpaceX.
After launching the satellite, Bangladesh began to receive test signal from it on 12 May 2018. A ground station has been built in Bangladesh to control the satellite at Gazipur. A backup ground station was also built at Betbunia, Rangamati.