October 5, 2023, 5:12 am

Staff Correspondent

2022-11-12 05:47:23 BdST

Bangladesh prepares to send first satellite to orbit the moon

Bangladesh will send their first satellite to orbit the moon under the Great Lunar Expedition for Everyone (GLEE) mission by late 2023 or early 2024, as part of NASA’s Artemis mission.

The confirmation came in a press briefing arranged by Aspire to Innovate (a2i) for celebrating 12 years of initiating Union Digital Service Centre and announcement of the inauguration of the campaign titled “Smart Bangladesh 2041: Smart Service for all” in ICT Tower in Dhaka.

Bangladesh is among the 22 countries across the world that have been selected for sending satellites. The satellite would be assembled by a 35-members Bangladeshi team in the country.

Project team leader Zahid Hasan Shovon said the cost of the raw materials of the satellite and its launching would be carried by the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, and the local team would be responsible for the activities ranging from mission planning to re-designing the satellite, assembling it, testing, rocket launching and all sort of data analysing after sending the satellite to the moon.

“The skills, knowledge and experiences gathered from the mission could be used to design the future space mission in Bangladesh,” he added.

With Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and first person of colour on the Moon, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before. We will collaborate with commercial and international partners and establish the first long-term presence on the Moon.

Artemis challenge

According to the GLEE website, inspired by NASA's Apollo Moon landings over 50 years ago, the Great Lunar Expedition for Everyone (GLEE) will be a catalyst for a new generation of space missions and explorers.

This scientific and technological mission to the Moon will deploy hundreds of LunaSats to the lunar surface to conduct local and distributed science missions.

LunaSats are tiny spacecraft with an integrated sensor suite that will be programmed by teams of students all over the world for a mission of their own design.

To participate in the Artemis challenge the Bangladesh team started working early this year and submitted their proposal in April.

In May, the result was announced that Bangladesh achieved the opportunity to send its first satellite.

Bangladesh received the first package of the equipment in an airtight state on October 18 and the next package would be received in March of next year.

Zahid Hasan Shovon said they are currently undergoing training from NASA that would be concluded possibly in December this year.

Once the training was completed, they would start assembling the tiny satellite of 36 square cm that would be weighted 5gm only, he said    

According to Shovon, if all goes well, the satellite would launch to the moon from the United States in late 2023 or early 2024.

Project Director and ICT division Joint Secretary Nahid Sultana Mallik said that the satellite will be assembled in Bangladesh and send it to the USA for launching in an airtight state.

“We don’t have any lab to conduct such work. However, while inaugurating the project the Minister of State for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak ensured to build one as soon as possible,” she said.

State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak, speaking as the chief guest of the program said that during inaugurating the first satellite of the country, Bangabandhu Satellite 1. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina uttered that one day the country would land on the moon.

“We might not land on the moon right now, physically. But we can at least send a satellite to orbit the moon within three years of the statement. One day the country will be able to launch a self-build satellite to the moon,” he hoped.

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