The Bangabandhu 1 (BD-1) satellite, the first geostationary communications satellite of Bangladesh, was developed by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). The satellite was launched into geostationary earth orbit (GEO) in May 2018.

The satellite is located at 119.1°E longitude orbital position and provides broadcasting and telecommunication services to rural areas in Bangladesh. It also supports profitable services, including direct-to-home (DTH) services.

It offers Ku-band and C-band services across Bangladesh and its territorial waters of the Bay of Bengal, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

The satellite enables the nation to save approximately BDT1.08bn ($14m) currently being spent on satellite rents each year. BTRC also plans to launch follow-on series of BD-2 and BD-3 satellites in phases.

Bangabandhu-1 satellite design and development

Thales Alenia Space was selected as prime contractor to provide turnkey systems, including design, production, testing services for the BD-1 satellites, in November 2015. The scope of the contract also includes the development of ground segment.

BD-1 satellite’s communications module integration work was carried out at Thales Alenia Space plant located at Toulouse in France. The critical design review (CDR) of BD-1 satellite was completed in January 2017. The service module for the satellite was manufactured at Cannes and satellite mating was completed in March 2017.

Thales Alenia Space Belgium, Thales Alenia Space Italia and Thales Alenia Space España were also involved in the development of the satellite and the ground components.

Based on Spacebus 4000B2 platform developed by Thales Alenia Space, the BD-1 satellite has a launch mass of 3,500kg. It  includes two deployable solar arrays with batteries. The spacecraft has a designed lifespan of 15 years.

Communication capabilities of BD-1 satellite

The BD-1 satellite is fitted with 26 Ku-Band and 14 C-Band transponders. The major applications of the spacecraft include DTH, very small aperture terminal (VSAT) communications, backhaul and trunking, network restoration, and disaster preparedness and relief.

The primary service area (PSA) of the satellite is Bangladesh and neighbouring countries, while its secondary service areas (SSA) include South East Asia, Europe, Middle East and North Africa (MENA), as well as East Africa.

BD-1 satellite launch vehicle details

The satellite was launched on-board Falcon 9 version 1.2 rocket. The launch operations were conducted from the SpaceX launch site at Cape Canaveral, Florida, US.

“The satellite was launched into geostationary earth orbit (GEO) in May 2018.”

Financing for BD-1 satellite

The development of BD-1 satellite was completed at a cost of $248m. The Bangladeshi Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved $37.58m in funding for the development of the country’s first satellite in September 2014.

Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) provided $17.46m for the construction of the BD-1 and its ground equipment.

Ground control station

The satellite is controlled by two ground stations, which are used for primary and back-up site operations and control centres.

Thales Alenia Space provided tools for the ground segment for the mission planning and space operations monitoring. It also built two ground facility buildings, which  house satellite control and network operations centre.

Spectra Engineers was contracted to execute civil works of the ground facilities.