The government has undertaken a project to construct a space observation centre to enable public to observe space as well as for those interested in the study of space science.
The center, to be named after the Father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, will be located at the south of Bhangardia village of Bhanga upazila, Faridpur, the junction of the Tropic of Cancer and the 90 degree east longitude that surrounds the earth.
Through this, it is hoped that it will be possible to encourage the young generation to take interests in space science, experts said.
A project titled ‘Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Space Observatory Centre' will be placed before the next meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECENC). The Ministry of Science and Technology is undertaking the project, a planning official said.
The cost of its implementation of the project has been estimated at Tk 213.38 crore, the official said.
There are a total of 12 junctions of four longitude lines running north-south with the equator line, Cancer line and Capricorn line which surrounds the earth from east to west. These places are ideal for space observation.
However, 10 of these 12 intersections are located in different seas. There are only two intersections on land, one in the Sahara desert, the other in the village of Bhangardia in Bhanga upazila of Faridpur.
Professor Zafar Iqbal of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology presented this information in 2019.
Not only that, he also proposed to set up the 'Bangabandhu Observatory' in the name of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Based on that proposal, the Ministry of Science and Technology took the initiative to build the space observation center with the consent of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Another official of the Planning Commission said a meeting of the Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) was held on September 16 last year after receiving the proposal for the project.
The Development Project Proposal (DPP) has been restructured by implementing the recommendations given at the meeting, he said.
As a result, the project has been prepared for presentation at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC), he mentioned.
If approved, the Ministry of Science and Technology will implement the project by June 2024, he further said.
The Ministry of Science and Technology says the proposed project will open new horizons in space science practice for the general public, especially science students. There will be opportunities for the general public to visit the space observation centre and space science gallery.
There will be various space science workshops and training opportunities for young students. There will also be opportunities for MPhil or PhD researchers to study space science.
According to the project proposal, a 5-storey circular (annular) building will be constructed on 10 acres of land. The main observatory tower, one meter in diameter, will rise to a height of 100 metres from separate installations built on the ground in the center of the building.
The tower will have a horizontally rotating platform of 10-metre diameter suitable for reflector telescopes. The ground floor and circular platform of the observatory tower will serve as a secondary observatory.
The height of the observatory tower will commemorate the birth centenary of Bangabandhu. The 5-storey annular building will have office rooms, classrooms, laboratories and accommodation. The entire cost of the project will be allocated from government's funds.
The Museum of Science and Technology will implement the project. The observatory centre will be set up in coordination with the Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization (SPARRSO) under the Ministry of Defense.
Abul Kalam Azad, Member (Secretary) of the Socio-Economic Infrastructure Department of the Planning Commission the main objective of the project is to set up a space observation center at the junction of the Tropic of Cancer and 90 degrees east longitude.
This will create opportunities for the public to observe space, he said adding that, “It is possible to achieve things like expansion of space science practice, creating science-mindedness among the younger generation, and creating interest in science education through education-friendly entertainment.”
Overall, the project will play an important role in the spread of science education, especially space science education, he mentioned.
That is why the project is being recommended for approval, he further said.