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Essay : Bangabandhu Satellite-1 : A New Dimension in Telecommunication Sector

Bangabandhu Satellite-1 : A New Dimension in Telecommunication Sector

Introduction : The whole world is advancing with a lot of modern contributions to science and technology. Today almost all the modern and enlightened nations have their own satellites in the orbit. A sovereign country, in pursuit of sustainable development, needs its own satellite in order to reduce its dependency on other nations. With that mission, Bangladesh launched its first-ever satellite on 11 May 2018 on a Falcon 9 rocket. Through the launch, Bangladesh has not only got a major milestone in scientific research of the country but also a big step towards achieving self-dependency. 

What Satellite is : A satellite is a moon, planet or machine that orbits a planet or star. For example, Earth is a satellite because it orbits the sun. Likewise, the moon is a satellite because it orbits Earth. Usually, the word “Satellite” refers to a machine that is launched into space and moves around Earth or another body in space. 
Earth and the moon are examples of natural satellites. Thousands of artificial or man-made satellites orbit Earth. 
Some take pictures of the planet that help meteorologists predict weather and track hurricanes. Some take pictures of other planets, the sun, black holes, dark matter or far away galaxies. These pictures help scientists better understand the solar system and universe. Still, other satellites are used mainly for communications, such as beaming TV signals and phone calls around the world. 

Why Satellites are Important : The bird’s-eye view that satellites have allows them to see large areas of earth at one time. This ability means satellite can collect more data, more quickly than instruments or the ground. Satellites also can see into space better than telescopes on Earth’s surface. That’s because satellites fly above the clouds, dust, and molecules (অণু) in the atmosphere that can block the view from ground level. 

Without satellites, TV signals do not go very far. TV signals only travel in straight lines. So they will quickly trail off into space instead of following earth’s curve. Sometimes mountains or tall buildings will black them. Phone calls to faraway places were also a problem. Setting up telephone wires over long distances or underwater is difficult and costs a lot. With satellites, TV signals and phone calls are sent upward to a satellite. Then, almost instantly, the satellite can send them back down to different locations on Earth. 

Background of Satellite in Bangladesh : A country like Bangladesh is highly exposed to natural disaster risk because of its unique geographical location. Tele-communication system in Bangladesh has always been suffering from interruptions and problems as erratic disasters hit the country. During such emergency situations, satellite network can play an important role in ensuring uninterrupted telecommunication services in Bangladesh. With that vision, BTRC started working to open new dimension of possibility in the telecommunication sector of Bangladesh by launching its first-ever satellite. It had a long-cherished dream of having country’s first satellite. In order to materialize the dream, BRTC formed a committee in April 2008 which was then reformed in January 2010. This committee performed various important activities and maintained a continuous liaison with ITU to perform all secretarial jobs in the regard. Every member state of ITU has to follow ITU regulations in order to launch his satellite. 
Recognizing the importance of the satellite launching preparatory activities, BTRC formulated a project with the title "Preparatory Functions and Supervision in Launching a Communication and Broadcasting Satellite" which was then approved by the government on 26 January 2012 with an estimated project cost of Tk 8681.51 lakh for till 2015. 

Baseline Characteristics of the Country’s First Satellite : Bangladesh has planned a launch a Communication and Broadcasting satellite consisting of 24 Ku and 16 c-band transponders. The priority satellite applications are Direct to Home (DTV), VSAT, Backhaul and Trunking, Network Restoration, Disaster Preparedness and relief, etc. The Primary Service Area (PSA) would be Bangladesh and neighboring countries and the Secondary Service Area (SSA) would be South East Asia, Europe, MENA, and East Africa depending on orbital slot. 
The system concept of the proposed satellite comprises satellite payload requirements, orbital slot/frequencies, coverage areas, ground segment, user terminal design characteristics, satellite operations, and environment factors. There are two ground stations for satellite operation; control one as the primary site and other as the backup site. 

Buying Slot and Launching Bangabandhu Satellite : Bangabandhu Satellite-1 carries a total of 40 Ku-band and C-band transponders with a capacity of 1600 megahertz with a predicted life span of 15 years. The satellite is currently located at longitude 119.09° E and is expected to be located at 119.1° East longitude geostationary slot. Initially, the BTRC applied for a slot on 102° East to the International Tele-communication Union (ITU). However, nearly 20 countries including USA, Russia, France, and Australia raised objections that their satellite communication would be disrupted if Bangladesh was given that slot. Bangladesh bought the slot on 199.1° east from Intersputnik, a Russian satellite for $ 20 million. The satellite was supposed to be launched in December 2017 but hurricane Arma had devastating damage on Florida and made its launch delayed from Cape Canaveral. Bangabandhu Satellite-1 was rescheduled (after some changes of scheduled dates) to be launched on 11 May 2018 and Bangladesh’s dream of launching its first satellite came true on that day. After launching the satellite, Bangladesh began to receive test signal from it on 12 May 2018. 

How the Bangabandhu Satellite will Benefit Bangladesh : The Bangabandhu Satellite will bring enormous development and uninterrupted tele-communication system in Bangladesh especially in television, telephone, and internet services which Bangladesh has purchased from overseas. At present Bangladesh is spending annually more than one $ 14 million on satellite rent to ensure connectivity to television, radio, telephone, and internet. So this satellite will make Bangladesh self constrained and Bangladesh will also earn some foreign currency by broadcasting service. Bangladesh may rent service to Nepal, Myanmar, or Bhutan and may earn more than $ 50 million per year. Communication system of Bangladesh will get new progression of development. Some sectors like telecommunication, e-learning, e-research’s, video conference, defense and disaster management system will be improved, for this satellite and this service will give Bangladesh a long term service to a large scalability, global availability, reliability, versatility and super performance. 

Conclusion : India and Pakistan have their own satellites and another neighboring country. Sri Lanka is in queue. So the introduction of satellite in Bangladesh is expected to help Bangladesh to advance in communication sectors and help Bangladesh for earning foreign currency by renting its facilities to other neighboring countries where there is no satellite.

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