Once space research activities were conducted by the United States and Soviet Russia but now about 54 countries have joined to the race to reap its benefits. Space technologies are offering services to internet, telephone, television, tele-education, telemedicine, online shopping etc., which have already become the indispensable tools for our life. Within a few years, we will find this world transformed into a different dimension run by space technologies and its applications.
In view of coping with the emerging space technologies, Bangladesh immediately needs to setup a space research organisation aimed at availing enormous opportunities in employment and business for our people.
Space research is a continuous process which needs year of concerted efforts, pragmatic planning, hard and dedicated services by scientists, engineers, technicians and officials. Bangladesh has enough innovative and dedicated engineers, technicians, scientists, and a huge numbers of them are working in National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), European Space Agency (ESA) and other space organisations, scientific research centres around the world. With their experience, expertise and guidance, we can build up Bangladesh Space Agency (BSA) as one of the important space organisations in the world.
In near future Bangladesh will have to launch its own communication and earth observation satellite. Recently, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MoPT) has decided to launch a communication satellite. To develop and launch a satellite by a foreign country is not a crucial issue but the basic factor is the operation, navigation, tracking and telemetry, augmentation, checking structural condition of satellite after launch etc. To offer those services, creation of space agency is necessary. BSA can play the role of an apex body for all the space related activities including education, training, planning, leasing, owning, developing, launching to controlling satellite for use in Bangladesh like NASA, ESA, JAXA, CNSA, ISRO etc.
Following steps are essential to establish BSA:
* To setup space research centre to study aeronautics, aerodynamics, avionics, geodesy, meteorology, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, astronomy, astrophysics etc.
* To procure our own communications and earth observation satellite for telecommunications, weather forecast, flood warning, river erosion, disaster management, geographical information system (GIS), global positioning system (GPS) and other services
* To establish tele-education and telemedicine network all over Bangladesh for providing educational and medical services to the students and patients.
Space Research Centre
* To train students about the designing, erection and integration of launch vehicles, rockets, satellites, payloads, space probes etc.
* To develop telemetry, tracking and command network
* To train about propulsions, combustion, ignition and other basic knowledge for launching rockets
The ideal rocket launch centre will be the south-eastern part of Kuakata. About 100 miles eastern side of this location is covered by Bay of Bengal with islands mostly uninhabited. Rockets are launched eastwards. If for any reason, launch of rocket fails then it will fall on the Bay of Bengal without creating loss of lives or destruction of properties.
Master Control Centre
A master control centre offers telemetry, tracking, transmission and acquisition of data, positioning of satellites, correction of its orbital movement, health monitoring of satellites and other delicate functions after launch of a satellite into orbit. The master control centre can be setup inside Chalon Beel, southern side of the road connecting Sirajganj and Natore. It is a vast and free area with no habitation which would help transmission and acquisition of data without interruption of light and sound pollutions.
Bangladesh is one of the members of Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organisation (APSCO) which is led by China and also Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) which is run by Japan. Bangladesh might obtain technological and logistical supports from these two organisations in the filed of space research and developments. Bangladesh also might get cooperation from NASA, ESA, ISRO and other government and private space research organisations with separate space agreement with them.
Most of the space faring countries around the world allocate certain percentage of the national budget for running their space programme. The government of India allocates about 2 per cent of their national budget for Indian Space Research Organisation. Government of Bangladesh might allocate similar budget for BSA. Further, funds are also available from From international donor agencies. Some space organisations, private firms also offer funds, technological and logistic supports for specified space programme.
Writer is the General Secretary of Bangladesh Astronomical Society (BAS).