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First satellite launched by Bangladesh

It was successfully deployed at Bangladesh's specified orbit slot "within 36 minutes" of the launch and two ground stations in Bangladesh received test signals from it, said State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak at the Kennedy Space Centre in the US.

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The project is designed to "efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world," the report said on Friday. Pixabay
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Bangladesh launched its first satellite, “Bangabandhu-1”, on Saturday, becoming the 57th nation in the world and fourth in South Asia after India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka to own a satellite.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted the communication satellite, named after the Bangladesh founder, early in the morning from Cape Canaveral in Florida, bdnews24 reported.

It was successfully deployed at Bangladesh’s specified orbit slot “within 36 minutes” of the launch and two ground stations in Bangladesh received test signals from it, said State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak at the Kennedy Space Centre in the US.

The launch was telecast live in Bangladesh, with experts saying it will serve as a milestone in the telecommunication sector.

“The satellite will be a great addition to our Information Technology heralding our entry into the Satellite Club of the world,” said Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a message.

"The satellite will be a great addition to our Information Technology heralding our entry into the Satellite Club of the world," said Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a message.
Bangladesh, pixabay

“The Bangabandhu Satellite-1 will certainly bring revolutionary changes in our broadcast and telecommunications sector. With this launching, we’ve hoisted the Bangladesh flag in the space… entered a new era.”

She thanked the satellite building and launching company, the US and the French governments for their support. Hasina also praised Russia for renting its orbital slot to Bangladesh.

Experts said that the country’s first geostationary communication satellite will give extra space to the digitization process. It will help expand Internet and telecommunication services in remote and rugged areas which still remained beyond the coverage.

Once the satellite becomes active at its orbital slot, it will be reportedly controlled from three stations in the US, Italy and South Korea for about a month. Finally, the satellite will be controlled and maintained from ground stations in Bangladesh.

In September 2016, Bangladesh signed a 14 billion taka ($180 million) loan agreement with Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) to finance the country’s first-ever satellite.

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In November 2015, Bangladesh signed a 19.51 billion taka ($248 million) deal with French firm Thales Alenia Space for the satellite project.

The Bangladeshi government also purchased a 119.1 east longitude orbital slot from Russia-based Intersputnik for 15 years for $28 million. (IANS)

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Kyrgyzstan’s First Satellite Built By Young Women

Nearly one in 10 girls in Kyrgyzstan is married off before age 18, according to global charity Girls Not Brides, even though bride kidnapping was outlawed in 2013.

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Kyrgyzstan
Young women in Kyrgyzstan participate in a project run by Kloop Media, a local media group, to build the country's first satellite in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. VOA

Reaching for the stars will no longer be impossible for girls and young women in Kyrgyzstan, who aim to build and launch the country’s first satellite before 2020.

A dozen budding female scientists have been tinkering with computers, 3-D printers and soldering irons since March to build a CubeSat, which U.S. space agency NASA describes as being the smallest and cheapest satellite used for space exploration.

“I feel very proud that it’s going to be the first satellite of the country. I’m doing this program because I want to empower other girls,” student Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova, 23, said during a Skype interview from the capital, Bishkek. “Your gender doesn’t have to determine what you have to do in this life.”

It is a rare path for any Kyrgyz, let alone a woman, given that nearly two-thirds of the people in the mountainous Central Asian country live in rural areas, and the economy relies on farming, according to the United Nations.

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Women make up less than 10 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s graduates in science, technology, engineering, math, construction and manufacturing graduates, the U.N. Development Program says.

‘Not very common’

“Some girls don’t have the courage to pursue such studies because it’s not very common in our country, and the majority of parents discourage their daughters from pursuing this,” said Alina Anisimova, 19, who is leading the satellite project.

“I wish that in the future, people will not consider it so surprising to see young women who do welding or who are involved in engineering,” said the computer programmer.

She is one of the young women, aged 17 to 24, working on the project, which was started by Kloop Media, a local media group, after a chance meeting with senior NASA staff Alexander MacDonald, who suggested the ambitious idea.

According to Kloop’s crowdfunding page for the project, the construction and launch of Kyrgyzstan’s first CubeSat will cost up to $150,000. The final stages of the build will be made in partnership with a Lithuanian company.

kyrgyzstan women, satellite
Kyrgyz woman from Alay mountains, Kyrgyzstan. Flickr

“[Building a satellite] can serve as a powerful social and political signal,” MacDonald told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. He said it could send important messages about “who is able to participate and build the future.”

Even though the number of women in STEM has increased in recent years, they still account for only about 30 percent of the world’s researchers, the U.N cultural agency UNESCO says.

Marriage expected

Aidana Aidarbekova, a 19-year-old student participating in the project, said girls and women in her country are expected to marry instead of pursuing careers.

“There are a lot of people who don’t believe that girls are capable of doing anything else but cleaning and cooking and giving birth to children,” said Aidarbekova.

Also Read: New Galaxy Has A Smiley Like Structure: NASA

Nearly one in 10 girls in Kyrgyzstan is married off before age 18, according to global charity Girls Not Brides, even though bride kidnapping was outlawed in 2013.

Aidarbekova said she hopes the space project will inspire girls in her country and beyond.

“We are doing this program because we want to prove that girls can actually do it,” she said. “ … Maybe our project will give hope to girls all around the world.” (VOA)