Reuters – June 19 2023
Indonesia and Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX on Monday launched the country’s largest telecommunication satellite from the United States, in a $540 million project intended to link up remote corners of the archipelago to the internet.
Roughly two-thirds of Indonesia’s 280 million population already use the internet, but connectivity is limited in far-flung, underdeveloped eastern islands of the Southeast Asian country.
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“Satellite technology will accelerate internet access to villages in areas that cannot be reached by fiber optics in the next 10 years,” Mahfud MD, senior Indonesian minister, said in a statement ahead of the launch.
The 4.5-tonne Satellite of the Republic of Indonesia (SATRIA-1) was built by Thales Alenia Space and deployed into orbit from Florida by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which then returned to an offshore site in a precision landing.
The satellite will occupy the orbital slot above Indonesia’s eastern Papua region. It has a throughput capacity of 150 gigabytes per second and will provide internet access to 50,000 public service points, the Indonesian government said.
The project is a public-private partnership between the government and Indonesian satellite service provider PT Satelit Nusantara Tiga.