The first satellite ground station in Bangladesh built by university students to communicate with “BRAC Onnesha”, the first nano-satellite made by a Bangladeshi university, was inaugurated by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG, Chairperson, BRAC; and Chairperson, Board of Trustees, BRAC University.
Inaugurating the ground station on thursday, 25 May 2017 at 11:00am through a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the rooftop of BRACU’s campus building number 4 (44 Mohakhali, Dhaka), Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG said the responsibility of carrying out frontier research fell on all of the country.
He said the nation was still dependent on utilising benefits of research conducted in foreign countries, some of which invested some 2 to 3 percent of their GDP in this sector, while he was unsure whether Bangladesh invested hardly 0.1 percent.
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG said the nation would greatly benefit if the government spends at least one percent of its GDP on research.
BRACU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Syed Saad Andaleeb, Ph.D. put emphasis on collaboration among universities, the government and industries, saying that if this can be realised then “the sky is the limit”.
The inauguration was followed by a short video presentation and demonstration on antenna control and receiving data/beacon by a team of BRACU students involved in the ground station.
A replica of “BRAC Onnesha’’ was presented to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed by the ground station team. The occasion was then celebrated with the cutting of a cake.
The three students who developed the satellite -- Abdulla Hil Kafi, Raihana Shams Antara and Maisun Ibn Monowar -- connected to the program through Skype from Japan.
The guests expressed hope that the initiatves would not only further Bangladesh’s space research and satellite communication but also develop technical expertise.
"BRAC Onnesha", a cube measuring 10cm along its edge and weighing around one kilogramme, will be deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) once it is taken there on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket which is scheduled to be launched from Florida, USA on 2 June 2017.
Earlier this year, on 8 February, BRACU became the first Bangladeshi educational institution to get its very own nano-satellite, developed and assembled by three of its students using technology and facilities of a Japanese university.
Side by side six students started working on the ground station and two more students recently joined the team under the guidance of two advisers from the faculty -- Dr Md Khalilur Rahman and Dr Md Hasanuzzaman.
The students are Mohammed Shourobh, Aynul Huda Emil, Bijoy Talukder, Sananda Jagati Choyon, Jamil Arifin, Arafat Haque, Md Sakiluzzaman and Adnan Sabbir.
The ground station set up at BRACU is capable of receiving topographical data gathered by “BRAC Onnesha”, when deployed into low earth orbit at an altitude of around 410km, passing over Bangladesh four to six times every day.
The BRACU researchers will analyse and interpret data taken in the form of high quality photographs, observe space environment and help serve academic and research goals.
The ground station will also receive audio signals and be used for communication during emergencies via amateur "ham" radio equipment, can be and will be connected to many other satellites on purpose and when agreed upon.
The team of students assembled antennas, planned to set-up the room, and designed the tower with BRACU’s architecture department and Brac’s Construction Department.
They have been successfully using softwares to receive beacon (data) from weather satellites like NOAA-18 and NOAA-19, which allows free data access.