Ground station for India-Bhutan satellite officially launched

The launch of the BHUTAN-1 satellite in June 2018 marked the beginning of Bhutan’s space journey. Four years later, Bhutan’s next giant leap came in the form of the India-Bhutan satellite, launched in November of last year. And today, Bhutan now has a fully operational ground station to receive information from the India-Bhutan satellite and other satellites in the future. The ground station was officially inaugurated yesterday.     

This image was taken by the India-Bhutan satellite also known as INS-2B from about 500 kilometres above the Earth’s surface as the satellite flew over eastern Bhutan in early December last year.

The 15-kilogram nanosatellite revolves around the Earth about three times a day, taking high-resolution images of the Earth’s surface. The satellite has a life span of about six to eight months.

To receive images and communicate with the satellite, the ground station in Thimphu was developed.

“We are currently receiving image data from this joint satellite, and we have a control room where the images are processed. So, we process the images and once the images from the satellite are processed, we distribute them to the relevant agencies that can use the images to study Bhutan’s landscape,” said Kiran Kumar, Deputy Executive Engineer from the Division of Space and Telecom.

He added that images will be used for applications such as mapping forest coverage, human settlement growth, and landslide studies.

The ground station was jointly developed by the Government Technology (GovTech) Agency and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The chairman of ISRO said that the satellite and the ground station, though a small step are another historic milestone.

“With the installation of this ground station, the entire chain of the system is coming into place. There is a satellite up there in the sky and the ground station is here with all the data processing facilities. Moreover, the Bhutanese scientists are trained to handle all of these themselves. This shows the small steps that we are making today to have a giant leap in space technology by Bhutan,” said S. Somanath, Chairman of ISRO.

The engineers involved in the project say that the ground station will be used to collect data from other Bhutanese satellites that will be launched in the future as well.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Employment, and the Chairman and other delegates from ISRO attended the inauguration ceremony.

Karma Samten Wangda

Edited by Sherub Dorji

Top Stories

Related Stories


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Comments