BRAC University (BRACU) Vice Chancellor Professor Syed Saad Andaleeb, Ph.D. received nano-satellite BRAC ONNESHA from Kyutech President Professor Yuji Oie and Professor Mengu Cho, Director, Laboratory of Spacecraft Environment Interaction Engineering, Kyutech on February 8, 2017 in Kitakyushu, Japan.
For all to witness this history in the making, BRACU organised a LIVE videoconference connecting the ceremony in Japan to its Mohakhali campus in Dhaka.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Dr. Shahjahan Mahmood, one of the guests of honour in Dhaka, asked Abdulla Hil Kafi, Maisun Ibn Monowar and Raihana Shams Islam Antara, the three BRACU students who designed, developed and assembled BRAC ONNESHA at the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech), to come over to give a presentation and organise a workshop at BTRC on their accomplishments.
He also announced that Bangladesh’s first satellite, Bangabandhu Satellite 1, would be launched from Florida on December 16 this year and that construction of two others were in the pipeline. The BTRC chairman also invited the three students to work in the Bangabandhu project upon their return.
Professor Dr. A. A. Ziauddin Ahmad, Chairperson, Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, BRACU, presided over the ceremony in Dhaka and gave a brief description of BRAC ONNESHA. He said it was a great leap forward regarding technology transfer and that Bangladesh needs to build up its indigenous manpower and start developing high technology. Dr. Md. Khallilur Rahman introduced the audience in Japan.
Professor Syed Saad Andaleeb said it was a memorable day which Bangladesh should be proud of and especially thanked BTRC and Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization (SPARRSO).
He said space was the final frontier with many promises and that this was a powerful transition and that though the nano-satellite was small, the journey of its creation was big.
Kafi, now studying Applied Science for Integrated System Engineering in Kyetech, explained that the nano-satellite would be able to take high quality photographs of land to analyse vegetation, urbanisation, flood, water resources, forestry etc.
It will also allow relaying audio signals and attaining communication through HAM radio during emergencies and catastrophe and play the national anthem on days of national importance, observe space environment and monitor satellite location, he added.
Professor Mengu Cho of Kyutech said BRAC ONNESHA was easy to build and affordable and their prime objective was to educate the students so that they could go back to build one completely by themselves, presumably in October 2017.
He said the satellite was among five developed for five nations and that in unison they were able to accomplish tasks which expensive and bigger ones could not achieve.
Responding to queries of journalists, Dr Arifur Rahman Khan, the visionary who first brought up the project, connecting to the videoconference from the US, said new issues seemed complicated but students should have a dream to try, share and work together to increase diversity and give something to the nation. Dr. Md. Khallilur Rahman also responded to queries from journalists.
Professor Dr. A. A. Ziauddin then presented memorabilia to the guests of honour in Dhaka, including Mr Toshiyuki Noguchi, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Bangladesh; BTRC Chairman Dr. Shahjahan Mahmood; and SPARRSO member Dr Hafizur Rahman.
BRAC ONNESHA is shaped as a cube of 10cm edge capable of completing one orbit 400 kilometres above the ground in 90 minutes and passing over Bangladesh four-six times a day. BRACU has also started building a corresponding ground station in its Mohakhali campus in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
As part of its academic endeavours, BRACU took up an initiative to start space and remote sensing research in collaboration with Kyutech and SPARRSO almost three years back.