Bangladesh Joins the Space Age

Satellite pride: Bangladeshi citizens exult at the launch of first national satellite; Bangabandhu-1 on the launch pad in Florida

With the launch of the Bangabandhu-1 satellite, Bangladesh has entered the space age. The project, assisted by other space powers, cost US$248 million and marks a promising step in integrating the economy in a global market, explains Abu Sufian Shamrat. Critics of the Bangabandhu-1 point to other concerns for the low-income rural nation. Yet over time the new technology, including 4G and expanded connectivity, could lead to innovation, sustainable economic growth and reduced unemployment. Fair and broad distribution of services with integration of rural districts could boost public support, and advanced communications are expected to reduce dependency on foreign satellite services and benefit telemedicine, distance learning, finance, agriculture and other sectors. Main challenges include repayment of borrowed funds for the satellite’s procurement and launch and a struggle to acquire space sovereignty. For now, Bangladesh’s expansion into space relies on cooperation with other space powers. – YaleGlobal