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Indonesia Telkom’s Merah Putih Communications Satellite Doing Fine Post-Launch

Indonesian engineers pose before the Telkom Indonesia Merah Putih communications satellite prior to its launch. Photograph courtesy of Telkom Indonesia.

Space Systems Loral (SSL), a Maxar Technologies company and a leading satellite manufacturer, has announced that the Merah Putih communications satellite built for Telkom Indonesia, Indonesia’s largest telecom operator, is performing post launch maneuvers according to plan following its successful launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Space Launch Vehicle on 7 August 2018.

The SSL-built satellite, Merah Putih – a name which represents the red and white of the Indonesian flag, deployed its solar arrays shortly after launch and will have begun firing its main thruster on 8 August 2018 to propel toward its final orbit. The satellite is part of the critical telecommunications backbone connecting thousands of islands in Indonesia, other parts of Southeast Asia, and it expands service to South Asia.

Satellites are uniquely positioned to provide cost-effective and reliable service in regions such as Southeast Asia where the geographies can make fiber-optic and terrestrial infrastructures difficult to build. The Telkom network demonstrates how satellite can seamlessly integrate into the greater telecommunications infrastructure to bring information and communications to underserved populations, and so bridge the digital divide in a large country with complex geography such as Indonesia.

“SSL is the leading satellite manufacturer for companies in Indonesia and many parts of Asia,” said Dario Zamarian, group president of SSL. “I’d like to congratulate our colleagues at Telkom Indonesia, SpaceX and the many members of the SSL team who worked together closely to make this satellite and launch a success.”

Merah Putih, which will be located at 108 degrees East longitude, is an all C-band satellite that enhances both Internet and telephone service for populations in remote regions and will be used to offload backhaul for mobile telephone services.

With a launch mass of roughly 5800 kg, the satellite incorporates many technology advances including SSL’s composite strut tower, which is built using 3D printed components. It has 24 C-band transponders and 12 transponders for Extended C-band covering Southeast Asia, and 24 C-band transponders covering South Asia. These technological advances aim to lower the cost of satellite capacity and enable better performance and reliability.

“SSL worked closely with the Telkom team to be sure to meet all of our requirements,” said Mr. Alex J Sinaga, President Director of Telkom Indonesia. “We are very happy that the satellite was completed ahead of schedule and now that it is launched, we can expand our service into new regions.”

Merah Putih is based on the powerful and reliable SSL 1300 platform, which provides flexibility for a broad range of applications and technology advances. It is designed to provide service for 16 years or more.

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