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Airbus: Bangladesh to be among few countries with sovereign satellite

by tbhdesk

Collaboration with BSCL underway
BSCL already signed a letter of intent
Bangabandhu-2, to be the country’s first earth-observation satellite
Bangabandhu-2 to form a constellation of satellites

With the implementation of the Bangabandhu-2 satellite, Bangladesh will join the select group of countries in the world possessing a sovereign earth-observation satellite.

“We are collaborating with BSCL to establish the right approach,” François Royer, sales and marketing director of Airbus Defence and Space – Space Systems, told a group of journalists who visited its headquarters in Toulouse, France, on Tuesday.

The Bangladesh Satellite Company Ltd (BSCL) has already signed a letter of intent on cooperation with Airbus for the Bangabandhu-2, which will be the country’s first earth-observation satellite.

This signing took place on September 11 during French President Emmanuel Macron’s Dhaka visit.

Bangladesh’s initial satellite was designed primarily for communication purposes.

The Bangabandhu-2 will form a constellation of satellites, enhancing Bangladesh’s position as a spacefaring nation, according to the Airbus director.

“What’s crucial is that having your satellite grants you autonomy and sovereignty. You’ll have the ability to operate the satellite independently and confidentially,” Royer said.

“Only a few nations worldwide possess such autonomy, and Bangladesh will hopefully be one of them,” he added.

“You will be able to acquire images from anywhere once you have the satellite,” he continued.

Satellites serve diverse purposes, including weather forecasting, television signal transmission, amateur radio, internet communications, and the Global Positioning System. They are also employed in observations of the solar system, research and data collection.

Key areas requiring satellite imagery include land-based services, mapping, environmental monitoring and agriculture. Previously, Bangladesh used to purchase these images from external sources.

For agriculture, satellite-derived geospatial statistics offer timely and accurate support for defining and assessing agricultural policies at the district level. This includes estimating crop acreage, production, fertilizer requirements, and irrigation needs. Hugues Pavie, head of intelligence business growth for the Asia-Pacific, noted that using satellites allows cities to plan, anticipate, and manage their growth and development.

“Earth observation is a game changer. It provides objective data on a global scale with local precision at an unprecedented pace. It feeds automated analyses that drive decision-making and actions on the ground.”

Regarding Bangladesh, Royer said: “We’re discussing a constellation of satellites. What’s important in Bangladesh is the presence of clouds and fog, which present constraints. So, we need to combine sensors to see through these obstacles.”

With the right approach, Royer suggested that Bangladesh could manufacture satellites in the future. “It’s feasible for Bangladesh to produce satellites. If you have the capability, you can do it commercially,” he explained, noting that Airbus would assist Bangladesh in building its capacity.

During the French president’s visit, Bangladesh and France agreed to collaborate in the fields of ICT and digital technology, including artificial intelligence. In this context, France extended an invitation to Bangladesh to consider participating in such initiatives as the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence.

In their joint declaration, President Macron and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina acknowledged that the satellite would be a “contribution” from France to the 2041 Vision of a Smart Bangladesh.

Source: Dhaka Tribune.

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