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SATRIA-1, Asia’s Largest Communications Satellite

Soon Indonesia will have the largest multifunctional satellite in Asia. Its name is Satelit Republik Indonesia or known as SATRIA-1. The satellite, which has a capacity of 150 gigabytes per second (Gbps), has three times greater capability than the total nine satellites used by Indonesia today.

The nine commercial satellites now in operation consist of five national satellites and four foreign satellites, with a total transmission capacity of 50 Gbps.

The satellite will be launched and operational in 2023. The satellite figure has a height dimension of 6.5 meters and its operational age is about 15 years using Very High Throughput Satellite technology.

Indonesia is the fourth country to use this technology after Luxembourg, Canada, and the United States. This satellite will cover all regions in Indonesia with a total affordability of 116 spotbeam – the most accessible to the internet.

Minister of Communication and Information (Menkominfo), Johnny Gerard Plate, on Wednesday (08/18/2021) laid the first stone of the SATRIA-1 multifunctional satellite telecommunications infrastructure project in Cikarang, Bekasi Regency, West Java. In this place will later be the Primary Satellite Center and Network Operation Center, “This place will be the control center of SATRIA-1 when orbiting and connecting the satellite with earth,”Said Minister of Communications and Information Johnny.

Meanwhile, in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan will be built Backup Control Center (Back-up Satellite Control Center). The government is also preparing 10 other earth station locations or gateways in Batam, Pontianak, Tarakan, Kupang, Manado, Ambon, Manokwari, Timika, and Jayapura – whose status is still at the stage of land supply.

The existence of this control station is necessary to monitor the movement of SATRIA-1. In addition, it also conducts network management to comply with service stability standards and become a means of data communication between satellites and the earth.

Satria-1 satellite assembly was carried out in collaboration with the Government of Indonesia with Thales Alenia Space, a satellite manufacturing company based in France. As for the production of rockets as satellite launchers are in the United States. The government is partnering with Space Exploration Technologies Corporation or SPACEX – a private U.S. space transportation company founded by Elon Musk.

Satria-1 Satellite Project was built through a scheme of government cooperation agreements with business entities or KPBBU. The project requires an investment of $545 million.

The satellite financing structure consists of an equity portion (22 percent) of US$114 million and a loan portion (78 percent) of US$431 million. The portion of the loans comes from the syndicated French Export Credit Bank (BPI France) and support including HSBC Continental Europe, Banco Santander and The Korea Development Bank.

In charge of this project is the Ministry of Communication and Information together with the Information Telekomunikias Accessibility Agency (BAKTI). While the implementing business entity is PT Satelit Nusantara III. The project has appointed an independent supervisory consultant, namely PT Surveyor Indonesia and an infrastructure guarantor through PT Guarantor Infrastruktur Indonesia.

In the process of building the satellite, the consortium has also appointed China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) for the construction of the gateway. As a monitoring contractor, Kratos Defense &Security Solutions, Inc. of the United Kingdom will be involved in the project. Hughes company from the United States will be a contractor for the construction of IP Hub.

Reducing the Digital Gap

According to Minister of Information Johnny, indonesia’s geographical condition consists of thousands of islands, mountains, hills, valleys, rivers, canyons, straits, and vast seas with various challenges in the provision of terrestrial networks.

“This is one of the considerations in the choice of satellite technology as a telecommunications solution in a joint effort to reduce the gap in broadband access to bridge digital divide,” he said.

So President Joko Widodo has established SATRIA-1 as one of the national strategic projects to support digital connectivity and at the same time become the foundation of digital transformation for the betterment of the nation. Later, the SATRIA-1 satellite, which will be launched in orbit over Indonesia, will meet the needs of internet networks in the 3T area and 150,000 points out of a total of 501,112 public service points can be met.

As for public service points in various sectors that will get access from this satellite network, among others, educational facilities, local governments, defense and security administration, and health facilities, “This at the same time realizes Indonesia as a digital nation or a Digital Nation,” added Minister Johnny.

The division of 150,000 public service points, allocated 93,900 points each for schools and boarding schools in an effort to support the implementation of Distance Learning (PJJ) and compute-based exams. Then there are 3,700 points for health centers and hospitals, as well as other health services to support the needs of an integrated and centralized health database.

In the security sector, Minister of Communications Johnny mentioned that there are 3,900 points for community security services at police and TNI headquarters – especially in disadvantaged, leading, and outermost (3T) areas, so as to support reliable security needs – which have been difficult to reach with optical cables.

“There are also 47,900 points for village/ village office services, sub-districts, and other local governments, in order to optimize electronic-based government system services (SPBE / e-government) efficiently and effectively, as well as 600 other public service points,” added Minister Johnny again.

Furthermore, Minister Johnny also said that the provision of this infrastructure is a crucial initial prayerasarat to realize the acceleration of Indonesia’s digital transformation. Based on the human-centred approach, it is expected that the implementation of infrastructure can provide great benefits while opening up digital opportunities for all Indonesian people.

“Let’s make this momentum (ground breaking) a big leap point to continue to transform, continue to grow and be resilient towards a Connected Indonesia: The more digital, the more advanced!” he added.

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