Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) yesterday inked a landmark deal with Russian INTERSPUTNIK to obtain an orbital slot to launch the country maiden satellite, “Bangabandhu”, in the sky.
“Yesterday we’ve exhausted one of the five major steps by obtaining the leasehold of the orbital slot towards launching the satellite, ‘Bangabandhu’,” BTRC chairman Sunil Kanti Bose told a news briefing after the signing of the agreement.
Convener of Bangabandhu Satellite Implementation Committee A T M Monirul Alam signed the deal with Vadim E Belov, Director General of INTERSPUTNIK International Organization of Space Communication at the BTRC office.
The orbital slot was obtained at 119.1 degree east longitude in the space at a cost of US$ 28 million to be paid to INTERSPUTNIK.
The BTRC chief, Vice-Chairman Ahsan Habib Khan, INTERSPUTNIK Commercial Director Timofey Abramov, Technical Director Grigory Baitsur and other officials witnessed the signing of the deal.
Bose said initially the lease agreement was signed for 15 years, which subsequently could be extended for 30 years under the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) guideline.
“If we see the utility, we may take the slot permanently,” he said.
The BTRC chief said Bangladesh would complete the tendering process by late February and intended to give work order for manufacturing the satellite in the last quarter of the current year.
The BTRC has eyed to launch the country’s first satellite by December 2017 and once the satellite is launched, it would save around US$ 14 million annually on satellite rents for running television channels, telephones and radio connectivity.
Speaking on the occasion, Belov said they would do their best for Bangladesh to make its satellite project successful enabling the country to be a member of the elite club of satellite owners.
“We plan to hold seminars about the prospect of Bangladesh and satellite in Moscow and take other initiatives for it,” said the INTERSPUTNIK director general while talking about their cooperation for marketing.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on September 16 this year approved “Bangabandhu Satellite Launching project” involving Taka 2967.95 crore.
Under the project, two earth stations would be set up for the “Bangabandhu” at Joydevpur in Gazipur and Betbunia in Rangamati.
American firm “Space Partnership International (SPI)” will help Bangladesh in launching the satellite. Currently, 50 countries in the world have satellites of their own.
India and Pakistan are the only countries in the subcontinent with satellites. Sri Lanka is also in the middle of a process for launching one of its own.