IT Live: Thales Alenia Space, the Franco-Italian company that is developing Bangabandhu 1, Bangladesh’s first ever satellite, has signed a deal with US company Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) to use their Falcon 9 launch vehicle to launch the satellite.
The two companies signed the deal during their kickoff meeting held recently under the Launch Service Agreement, said sources at Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). Falcon 9 is a family of 21st century two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicles, according to the SpaceX website.
SpaceX is a private aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company that has worked with NASA and transported cargo to the International Space Station. Officials at the BTRC lauded the agreement saying it was a huge step forward in the development of Bangabandhu 1.
Approved by the cabinet on October 20, 2015, the satellite project took off after the BTRC signed an agreement with Thales, the largest satellite manufacturer in Europe, on November 11 the same year.
Speaking to reporters at the time, Thales CEO Jean-Loic Galle said Bangladesh had entered the prestigious list of world telecommunication through this agreement and it was also the beginning of a long-term relationship between Bangladesh and France.
The construction of the ground control stations started in January 2016. Around 43% of the fund has been spent as of December 2016, according to the government’s Annual Development Programme implementation report.
BTRC sources said once the satellite is launched, Bangladesh is expected to save $14 million annually and earn around $1 billion by leasing and renting the satellite.