Indonesia to use SpaceX to Launch Next Satellite
Telkom the largest telecom company in Indonesia, is about to launch a new satellite next year, dubbed ‘Telkom-4’.
The satellite is on order from California-based Space Systems Loral and will be equipped with 60 transponders that can transmit 100 Gbps mobile broadband across Indonesia, India, and Southeast Asia.
The total investment was worth US$166 million, including US$10 million insurance. President Director of Telkom, Alex J. Sinaga mentioned to CNN, “Investment in Telkom-4 [satellite] will be cheaper as we use a reusable orbital rocket from SpaceX, so it will be cheaper as much as 40 percent.”
As quoted by The Verge, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk appeared on the company’s live stream spoke about the accomplishment, “It means you can fly and refly an orbital class booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket. This is going to be, ultimately, a huge revolution in spaceflight,” he said.
PT Telkom has said the Telkom-4 would replace the aging Telkom-1 satellite, launched in 1999 and stationed at 108 degrees west longitude.
Earlier this year, Telkom successfully launched the third satellite, Telkom-3S, worth US$200 million. A product of Thales Alenia Space built in Toulouse and Cannes, France, the 3,550-kilogram Telkom-3S satellite carries 42 transponders: 24 in C-band, eight with extended C-band and 10 in Ku-band.
Telkom 3S will provide high-definition television services (HDTV), as well as mobile communications and internet applications that will cover Indonesia, Malaysia, and other parts of Southeast Asia.
“We aspire that Telkom to be the largest [satellite operator] in Asia. While providing satellite transponder in Indonesia, we can also meet [transponder] demands from other countries,” said Rini Soemarno, Minister of State Owned Enterprises during the inauguration of Telkom Satellite Master Control Station in Cibinong, West Java.
Starting with Telkom 4, 24 transponders will be marketed to India, while the other 36 transponders will be for domestic use.
A nation composed of some 13,400 islands is a made-in-heaven market for satellite connectivity, and Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta has been a popular port of call for satellite builders, launch-service providers, ground equipment providers and industry consultants for several years.
“Satellite services are particularly important in regions such as Indonesia where the population is spread over thousands of islands,” said John Celli, president of Space Systems Loral, the manufacturer of the Telkom-4 satellite.
Meanwhile, Huffington Post noted that Southeast Asia was catching up rapidly in the space development race. Satellites can help predict and monitor potential natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and volcanic eruptions. They can be very useful tools for managing disasters in near real time.