Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed,Columnist & Researcher Bangabandhu Satellite-1: From Ocean to Space & Beyond
Human instinct is to know the unknown, to see the unseen and to explore the unexplored. Nothing is impossible in this world. There are many mysterious things in this vast universe. With a narrow mind if one tries to think the vastness one may be lost. It is only through the indomitable courage, determination and will-force one can expolit the vast area of the universe. One cannot see it or imagine it with his/her normal or white eye. It is the power of imagination, deep thought-line that empowers people to utilize the resources of ocean, sky and beyond.
In the near past, we have won to establish our rights in the bay of Bengal. For a long period the issue was under trial at the International court of justice. Finally, through our prudent diplomacy, it was settled and court’s verdict was declared in favor of us.
Moreover, through the launching of the Bangabandhu Satellite-1, our dream has come true. This is indeed a big job done on the part of our diplomacy. Through this achievement our image has heightened manifold. It is our responsibility to uphold our image.
On 19th April, 1975 India in this sub-continent was first to access to space through launching their satellite with the support of the earswhile Soviet Union. Meanwhile, Pakistan and Sri-lanka also became parts of satellite technology with the support of China. But Bangladesh through her own initiative, and with her own financial support has launched Bangabandhu Satellite-1. This is indeed a significant event by which we have become a part of history.
This event coincides with our graduation form LDC to developing country. Many of our development partners were amazed to see it. When BTRC applied for 102 degree axis line of East longitude, 20 member countries of ITU like China, Australia protested it, although we are an elected council member of ITU. Many assume that, these should be settled through our diplomatic efforts and we are partly responsible for our limitations in policy sharing with the ITU policy holders. At last, Bangladesh hired 119.1 degree East longitude from Intersputnik of Russia.
In fact, Bangladesh’s journey to development has never been smooth one. After its independence, Bangabandhu spared no pains to build the war-ravaged Bangladesh to a self-reliant one. Overcoming all the oppositions and limitations, Bangabandhu could set up almost an abandoned Bethbonia geo-stationary satellite centre to an effective one.
The inaugural session took place on 14th June, 1975 and Bangabandhu formally opened and declared Bangladesh’s entry into the satellite world. The process, initiated once by Bangabandhu culminated into the present breakthrough of launching our own satellite for air communication and capturing aerial resources.
We are grateful to India, for its act of kind cooperation in the field of communication and satellite technology. Bangladesh with the support of India was successful in sending one SAARC Satellite Transponder of 36 Mega horse located at 97.5 degree East longitudinal part. Other than Pakistan all other SAARC member countries could avail the opportunity. Nepal is still in line of entering into this process. In spite of the opposition from ITU for not allowing the axis line, Bangladesh in an alternative way, managed to enter its satellite into space through its own arrangements and efforts. As per outer space treaty in 1967, every country is supposed to take her own responsibility for abiding by the international code and ethics.
As our rights are established, our future prospects look brighter now. Meanwhile, as the Bangabandhu Satellite-1 has 40 transponders, we may even lend some of the transponders to others. It they are properly utilized, our broadcast and communication arena will be beneficial for our country.
The information from the satellite is expected to help us to reduce our poverty, expand our education and enhance health protection. Perhaps it is not far when the world would be amazed to see our innovation and research through exploiting our own satellite technology.