BRAC Onnesha

Carrying identity of Bangladesh in space for the very first time

What is BRAC Onnesha?

BRAC Onnesha is a cubeSat developed, built and tested in Kyushu Institute of Technology by 3 Bangladeshi post graduate students, Abdulla Hil Kafi, Raihana Shams Islam Antara, Maisun Ibn Monowar. AKA, “Team Centurions”.

What is CubeSat?

CubeSat is standard for satellites by Prof. Bob Twiggs and Prof. Jordi Puig-Suari. CubeSat is a 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm satellite. The exterior shape of the satellite is well defined by standard, which allows the satellite to be deployed from PPOD / JSSOD. This standard allows developers to seek for cheap and frequent launch opportunity.

CubeSat has given developers an opportunity to test their design/device in “Real Space”. For this reason, cubeSat has rapidly gained popularity in recent years despite of being around since the year 2000.

BIRDS Project: Origin of BRAC Onnesha

BIRDS Project or “Joint Global Multi National Project”1 is a cubeSat constellation project under the leadership of Prof. Mengu Cho of Kyushu Institute of Technology. Dr. Arifur Rahman Khan2, Assistant Professor, University of Texas El-Paso put his best effort, so that Bangladesh maybe a part of this project. Dr. Khalilur Rhaman3, Associate professor, BRAC University took responsibility to make this project a success. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed encouraged 5 the team to proceed with the project. On June, 2015, an MOU was signed between BRACU and KyuTech. 6  On February 8, 2017 the satellite was handed over to BRAC University. 7 The very next day, the satellite was handed over to Japan Aerospace Agency [JAXA] for launch. On June 4, 2017 the satellite was launched as a cargo to International Space Station. 8 As of writing this document, [5th July, 2017] the satellite is scheduled to be deployed on 7th July, 2017 as the first candidate.

Missions: BRAC Onnesha

During its 2 months of operation time, BRAC Onnesha will perform 6 missions in total.

Mission 1: Capture image of Homeland Country

Natural resource monitoring one of the most used application of satellite technology. The main mission of BIRDS satellites is to capture a picture of respective homeland countries and send it back to respective country’s ground station. BRAC Onnesha has 2 cameras onboard. The primary camera is a 5 MP CMOS camera. We expect it capture 100 km/pixel spatial resolution picture of the earth. The auxiliary 0.3 MP camera serves as a backup camera.

Mission 2: Digi-Singer

BRAC ONNESHA will broadcast our National Anthem from space. This mission aims to motivate the young enthusiastic minds for career in space engineering. Anyone with a UHF receiver can receive and listen to our national anthem, played from space. For more details:

Mission 3: SEL Detection

Single Event Latchup or SEL is a phenomenon related to harsh space environment. For Galactic Cosmic Radiation, microprocessors sometimes experiences internal short circuit. This disrupts satellite operation. BIRDS constellation, aims to map SEL events for LEO and provide a statistical database for interested audience.

Mission 4: Atmospheric Drag Measurement

By using data from all 5 of the CubeSats, BIRDS project aims for measuring atmospheric drag more reliably by observing the decay rate of satellites. This data will provide more in depth data for our atmosphere and its effect on CubeSat mission lifetime.

Mission 5: Precise Satellite Position Detection System

In addition to 5 countries building satellites, Taiwan and Thailand are also participating in BIRDS project by sharing their ground station. 7 ground station in total enables us to experiment a reverse GPS system. This way, we can track our satellite without using any GPS.

Mission 6: Ground Station Network

One of the limiting factor for University based CubeSat project is, limited mission life and communication window. A ground station network can effectively increase the communication window. BIRDS project aim to demonstrate such a network operation for CubeSats. Participating countries are, Japan, Ghana, Mongolia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Taiwan & Thailand.

The developers:

For Bangladesh, BRAC Onnesha was developed by 3 Developers. Abdullah Hil Kafi, Raihana Shams Islam Antara, Maisun Ibn Monowar. 9

Ground station:

BRAC Onnesha will be operated from BRAC University. Ground station was inaugurated by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed. on 25 May, 2017. 10 6 students of BRAC University were primarily responsible for developing Ground station. 11 They are, MD Mojammel Haque, Bijoy Talukder, Sanada Jagati Chayan, Aynul Huda, Jamil Arefin, Arafat Haque.

Contact Information:

Prof. Mengu ChoPrincipal Investigator, BIRDS Project.
Director, LaSeine.
George MaedaAsst. Professor, International Liaison,
Dr. Arifur Rahman KhanAsst. Professor,
Dr. Md. Khalilur RhamanAssociate Prof.,
Abdulla Hill KafiEngineer, BRAC Onnesha.
Student, KyuTech.

Raihana Shams Islam AntaraEngineer, BRAC Onnesha.
Student, KyuTech.

Maisun Ibn MonowarEngineer, BRAC Onnesha.
Student, KyuTech.,

Further Reading:

  1. (for more information on BIRDS Project.