BIRDS Network

The Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite project acronym as “Birds project.” is a cross-border interdisciplinary satellite project for non-space faring countries supported by Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) under which Bangladesh Participated in 2015 and BRAC Onnesha has been built. BIRDS Network, it is a human network.  It brings together all persons who are connected to the Kyutech BIRDS Project – students, former students, professors, engineers, stakeholders, university staff, and the like.  This project started with “BIRDS-1 Project” back in October of 2015 – and was originally called “Joint Global Multi Nation Birds (JGMNB)” Project.  As the name is long and unwieldy, it became commonly known as the BIRDS Project. JGMNB also represents the nation members of that first project.  Namely, Japan, Ghana, Mongolia, Nigeria, and Bangladesh. A central activity for all concerned is developing new national space programs.  This is easier to do when there are people to share notes with.  Non Space fairing countries need support if they are to succeed at developing new national space initiatives at their home countries.  A thriving BIRDS Network is one way to support them.

BIRDS International Workshop

In 2016, Kyutech planned to hold workshop in different country around the world and Proposals are then solicited from organizations interested in hosting the workshop. Kyutech then evaluates the proposals and selects the host for each year. Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Core-to-Core Program has approved funds for Kyutech to use to conduct BIRDS international workshops for the next three years. It is needed to be mention that JSPS funds only support the air fare of delegates for attending the workshops.

Kyutech sets the following regions in which BIRDS workshops will be held:

  • 2017 -Ghana (All Nations University)
  • 2018 –Mongolia (National University of Mongolia)
  • 2019 –Bangladesh (BRAC University)

The central purpose of these workshops is to fortify the BIRDS Network. These gathering constitute an essential part of BIRDS Network’s global consensus-building and outreach efforts. Through this network, members can exchange notes, discuss new collaboration, show research results, and brainstorm on a variety of topics. At these workshops, delegates from different countries give formal presentations, have technical discussions, and have an opportunity to informally chat with other countries delegates to know about their country’s space activities.

The core members of these workshops are the partners of the BIRDS satellite projects.  So far, they have been:

2015–BIRDS-1:  Ghana, Bangladesh, Japan, Nigeria, Mongolia
2016–BIRDS-2:  Bhutan, Malaysia, Philippines
2017–BIRDS-3:  Nepal, Sri Lanka, Japan
2018–BIRDS-4:  Paraguay, Philippines, Japan
2019–BIRDS-5:  < now being formed >

The mission statement of the BIRDS Project has been this:

“Make the first step toward creating an indigenous space program by designing, building, testing, launching, and operating, the first satellite for participating nations.”

However, in the overall scheme of things, that is only the first step:  Doing the first satellite.  As members of the BIRDS community it is important that we ask:

“What comes after the first step?  What can be sustainable?” What is sustainable is “cooperation and collaboration” between the BIRDS partners.  Hence, that is the mission and the vision of BIWs — to provide an annual forum where all BIRDS partners can come together to:

  1. exchange notes,
  2. make plans for future collaboration,
  3. present various technical results, and
  4. informally discuss all matters of cooperation.

Importance of BIWs — and expected outcomes

In the absence of these workshops, it is nigh impossible to keep the BIRDS community together.  It simply drifts apart. The personal face-to-face interaction is vital even though the Internet does permit unlimited tele-conferencing. Nothing is able to replace direct personal communication and rapport.

Each workshop is generally three days of presentations and discussions, followed by one day of local excursion. During meals and coffee breaks, participants are able to chat with each other and develop closer ties.  This creates the path for collaboration.

So each workshop enables the sustainability of the BIRDS community. Without these workshops, there would be no sustainable community.

Expected outcomes:

– Each participant gives an update on his or her institution’s progress in space affairs
– Discussion on matters of the BIRDS Ground Station Network
– Discussion of the current state of BIRDS-1, BIRDS-2, BIRDS-3, and BIRDS-4, projects
– Discussion of future satellite projects
– Elevated understanding of what other members are doing
– Exchange of ideas on how to raise funds
– Discussion on where and how to do 5BIW

Previous BIRDS Workshop

In 2016, the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) was the host of First BIRDS International Workshop. It is home of the BIRDS Project. The Principal Investigator of the BIRDS Project is Prof. Mengu Cho, who is sitting on the far right in the first row.

In 2017, the All Nations University College (ANUC), Ghana was the host of the Second BIRDS International Workshop. ANUC was one of the five members of the BIRDS-1 satellite project. ANUC’s CubeSat was Ghana’s first satellite.

In 2018, the National Univ. of Mongolia (NUM) hosted the Third BIRDS International Workshop. NUM is also a member of the BIRDS-1 project. NUM’s CubeSat became Mongolia’s first satellite.