Govt leases orbital space for country’s first satellite

Bangladesh has leased an orbital slot in the space from a Russian vendor at $28 million for the next 15 years — for launching its first satellite.

“Bangladesh will own the orbit, and we will be able to send at least three satellites in the space. We can even rent out the slot to other countries or companies,” said Sunil Kanti Bose, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.

Vadim E Belov, director general of Intersputnik International Organisation of Space Communication, an inter-governmental institution owned by 26 countries, and ATM Monirul Alam, a BTRC commissioner, signed a deal at the regulator’s office in Dhaka yesterday.

The duration of the deal for the slot in the 119.1 east longitude is extendable up to 45 years.

“The government will form a satellite management company in the next two years. We plan to send multiple satellites in the space; otherwise it will not be viable,” Bose said. Payment for the slot will be cleared in four instalments, according to a BTRC official.

The first instalment of $5.6 million will be paid in three months, while the second instalment of $8.4 million will be cleared in 18 months, the third of $7 million in 36 months and the fourth of $7 million in 42 months, the official said.

However, there is a risk for Bangladesh, Bose said. “If the country fails to send the satellite into the space by September 2018, the slot will be cancelled.” “We plan to float bidding by February to build the satellite and give work order by the third quarter of the current year.”