SpaceX successfully launched the Bangabandhu Satellite-1, the first geostationary communications satellite of Bangladesh, last week from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

It was a historic occasion for the country, and President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina congratulated people of Bangladesh on the occasion.

The primary service area of the satellite will encompass Bangladesh and the surrounding region. It will offer Ku-band coverage over Bangladesh and its territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal, as well as India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia. It will also provide C-band capacity for the entire region, according to SpeceX.

Development of the satellite programme, known as the “Bangabandhu Satellite Launching Project”, was managed by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) with technical support from Space Partnership International (SPI), SpaceX said in a press statement.

To be operated by the Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited (BCSCL), the satellite comprised of 26 Ku-band and 14 C-band transponders and was manufactured by Thales Alenia Space on the Spacebus 4000B2 platform.

After liftoff at 4:14 pm EDT Friday (May 11), the Bangabandhu Satellite-1 was deployed into a geostationary transfer orbit approximately 33 minutes after launch.

Located at 119.1 East, Bangabandhu Satellite-1 will provide direct-to-home (DTH) services, video distribution and very small aperture terminal (VSAT) communications across Bangladesh.

The satellite will also provide broadband connectivity to rural areas throughout the country. The mission of Bangabandhu Satellite1 is expected to last at least 15 years.

According to SpaceX, the mission served as the first flight of Falcon 9 Block 5, the final substantial upgrade to its Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

Union Minister for External Affairs, Government of India, Sushma Swaraj congratulated Bangladesh on the launch of its first satellite. “Heartiest Congratulations to the Government and people of Bangladesh on the launch of Bangabandhu satellite,” she posted on Twitter.

In Bangladesh, people stayed awake to watch the historic moment. According to local media reports, many started singing the national anthem, even as the iconic “Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu” slogan was chanted in some parts of the country.

Dhaka University had provided two large projectors for its students and teachers to watch the launch from its Teachers Students Centre.

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina too witnessed the launch of the satellite, considered a milestone event for the country’s communication sector.

“Bangladesh started a glorious chapter in history with the launching of Bangabandhu-1 satellite as it has becomes a proud member of the satellite club from today,” Abdul Hamid said in a message.

“It was a perfect launch into clear skies. Bangabandhu-1 is now on it’s own flying out to its final orbit over Bangladesh. Joy Bangla! Joy Bangabandhu!” PM Hasina’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy wrote in a Facebook post.

“On this day, I would like to remember Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who initiated the task of entering the Space Age by setting up Bangladesh’s first-ever satellite earth station,” Dhaka Tribune quoted State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak as saying.

Palak was in Florida to witness the launch. “Bangladesh is on the path to conquer the space,” he tweeted in Bangla before the launch.