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Kennedy Space Centre invites visitors to launch of Bangladesh’s first satellite

Abrar Hussain: The Kennedy Space Centre in the United States has invited visitors to attend the launch of Bangladesh’s first satellite ‘Bangabandhu-1’. According to a statement released by the space center, the private space flight and technology company SpaceX set today (Thursday) as the launch date for ‘Bangabandhu-1’ at sometime between 4:12pm to 6:22pm local time. The statement added that the satellite will be carried by a block 5 version of the Falcon-9 rocket and launched into geostationary transfer orbit. Visitors will be able to watch the launch from both visitor complexes—the Apollo/ Saturn V centre, 3.9 miles away from the launch pad, and the main visitor complex, 7 miles away. Bdnews24 reports that State Minister for Information Tarana Halim, State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood flew to Florida to witness the launch. “A lot depends on, first, weather and then technical issues,” commented Mahmood on the possibility of delaying the launch as there already have been few postponements. The Bangabandhu satellite weighs 3,500 kg and will be launched from the historical 39-A launch complex, the same one that was used to launch the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the moon. The satellite was built at the Thales Alenia Space Facilities in France and was taken to Cape Canaveral launch pad in Florida in a special cargo plane after completing all the tests and reviews. Originally scheduled to be launched on December 16, its launch was delayed due to the devastation from Hurricane Irma last year. The launch was then rescheduled on May 4 but was again postponed to May 7. Containing 40 transponders, among which Bangladesh will use 20, the Bangabandhu 1 satellite is expected to save Tk 14 million a year that is currently spent on renting foreign satellites.

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