Spacecraft manufacturer SpaceX’s Indonesia satellite launched on Monday is considered to be the country’s largest telecommunication satellite. In a $550 million project aforethought for forming an alliance between the remote niches of the archipelago and the internet, SpaceX’s Indonesia communications satellite lifted off from Florida and capped the flight with a precise rocket landing at sea. 

Indonesia’s satellite launch by Elon Musk’s SpaceX will ramp up internet usage for two-thirds of the Southeast-Asian country’s 280 million population and enhance Indonesia’s internet connectivity for its underdeveloped eastern islands.

After a 15-minute delay due to strong winds, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket topped with SATRIA-1’s telecommunications satellite was deployed into orbit from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 6.21 PM EDT.

Indonesia SpaceX Satellite Launch

T-1 day for SATRIA-1’s launch. (Image Courtesy – SpaceX)

The 4.5-tonne Satellite of the Republic of Indonesia (SATRIA-1) will be made functional for the Indonesian government by the Southeast Asian company PSN. 

Indonesia SpaceX Satellite Launch: Proliferating Indonesia’s Internet Connectivity

The PSN SATRIA-1 was built by Thales Alenia Space, as contracted in 2020 and will ensconce the orbital slot above Indonesia’s eastern region of Papua. The public-private partnership between Indonesia satellite provider PT Satelit Nusantara Tiga and the Indonesian government paved the way for this project. 

SpaceX’s Indonesia communications satellite launch will accelerate access to the internet for villagers residing in remote areas that cannot be reached by fiber optics, by the next decade, according to a statement by senior Indonesian minister Mahfud MD. 

The $550 million spacecraft fosters a throughput capacity of 150 gigabytes per second, which is three times the capacity of the nine telecommunications satellites currently in use in Indonesia. SATRIA-1 is envisioned to boost internet connectivity inclusively to Indonesia’s 50,000 public service points, including free access to schools, health facilities, and regional government offices. 

SpaceX’s Communication Satellite Launch

The Indonesia-SpaceX satellite launch had a 178-minute window. Even when high winds at the opening of this window delayed the first launch attempt, SpaceX had plenty of buffer time to launch Indonesia’s communications satellite.

After going airborne from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, the Falcon 9 rocket steered on an Eastern trajectory over the Atlantic Ocean. Just 8.5 minutes after the liftoff, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket separated from the 2nd stage and oriented itself for re-entry into the atmosphere. After the entry burn, the rocket returned to the offshore site with a flawless touchdown on SpaceX’s drone ship ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’. The vertical touchdown of Falcon 9’s first stage booster was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast. 

Indonesia SpaceX Satellite Launch

Falcon 9’s successful touchdown after liftoff. (Image Courtesy – SpaceX)

Meanwhile, Falcon 9’s upper stage continued its journey into carrying SATRIA-1 to the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit, where it was ultimately deployed under 37 minutes after liftoff. After separating from Falcon 9’s second stage, SATRIA will use its thrusters to raise itself to be positioned at 146°E.

This was Falcon 9’s 39th launch of the year, being the fifth one of this month. The booster’s touchdown marked its 12th launch and landing, previously having maneuvered four Dragon missions to the International Space Station for NASA. 

It has also safely launched 4 Starlink batches, most recently on May 14, 2023, 2 space station resupply missions, 3 communication satellites and even 8 humans.