Fri. Sep 29th, 2023
Bangladesh to Sign Letter of Intent with France for Second Earth Observation Satellite

Bangladesh is set to sign a letter of intent with France to purchase its second earth observation satellite. The satellite will be primarily used for non-military purposes such as environmental monitoring, meteorology, and cartography. The agreement is expected to be signed during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Bangladesh.

The satellite, which will orbit approximately 350 miles above the Earth, will enable Bangladesh to observe the status of its crops and the sea. Currently, the country lacks monitoring capabilities over the vast sea. The signing of the agreement is anticipated to take place within the next two months, pending the finalization of price and necessary conditions.

Bangladesh’s first geostationary communications and broadcasting satellite, Bangabandhu Satellite-1, was also manufactured by a French company, Thales Alenia Space. Launched on May 12, 2018, the satellite operates at an orbit of 22,500 miles above the Earth and is primarily utilized for television and V-SAT (very-small-aperture terminal) services.

BSCL Chairman and CEO Shahjahan Mahmud expressed satisfaction with the performance of Bangabandhu Satellite-1 and highlighted Bangladesh’s interest in technology transfer regarding satellite production. Airbus has agreed to establish a manufacturing plant in Bangladesh for the production of small satellites. Mahmud emphasized the need for more satellites due to their average lifespan of seven to eight years, and even mentioned the possibility of selling satellites in the future.

In February 2020, Bangladesh signed a cooperation contract with Russian company Glavkosmos for the launch of its second satellite by 2023. However, complications emerged due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, resulting in sanctions imposed by the US and its allies. Mahmud confirmed that while the country is not abandoning its collaboration with Russia, the government has instructed them to consider other options. The launch of the new satellite is expected to take place by 2025.