Bangladesh’s first satellite to go aloft on May 7

Dhaka: Bangladesh is all set to become a member of the exclusive club of satellite-owning countries as its first commercial satellite “Bangabandhu-1” will likely be flying to space on May 7 from the US.

Bangladeshi Telecommunication and ICT Minister Mustafa Jabbar made the announcement here on Wednesday during his speech at a discussion meeting, jointly organized by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and the Telecom Reporters’ Network of Bangladesh (TRNB).

The satellite will be launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral, Xinhua news agency reported. Jabbar said the scheduled launch of May 4 was deferred to May 7 due to inclement weather.

The satellite’s launch was also rescheduled a couple of times earlier. SpaceX had reportedly planned to launch the satellite using Falcon-9 rockets on December 16, but the launch was postponed due to Hurricane Irma.

In September 2016, Bangladesh signed a 14-billion-taka (about $180 million) loan agreement with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) to finance the country’s first-ever satellite “Bangabandhu-I”.

In November 2015, Bangladesh signed a 19.51-billion-taka (about $248 million) deal with French firm Thales Alenia Space for the satellite project.

The Bangladeshi government has already purchased a 119.1 east longitude orbital slot from Russia-based Intersputnik for 15 years.