Specialist satellite operator Avanti Communications is pursuing the Indonesian government’s Defense Ministry at the London Arbitration Court over an unpaid debt of $16.8 million (€14.2m) in regard to a lease on its Artemis satellite based at 123 degrees East.
The lease was set at $30 million and covered the Artemis satellite being moved to the 123 degrees East orbital slot. Avanti says that the Indonesians failed to pay $16.8 million of the $30 million contract.
The legal action was filed with the Arbitration Court in August 2017.
The orbital position is crucial to the dispute, and had previously been occupied by the country’s Garuda-1 satellite and which was used by its armed forces for voice, data and video traffic. Garuda-1 suffered a number of problems following its launch in February 2000 and was retired in mid-2015 and moved to a graveyard orbit.
With Garuda-1’s failure Avanti’s Artemis satellite was used as a temporary ‘gap filler’ craft in order to retain access to the orbital position. Artemis was bought by Avanti from the European Space Agency in 2013 “for a nominal sum” and initially operated from 21.5 degrees East.
Avanti is now saying that the orbital slot, as far as Indonesia is concerned, is also now at risk because of the non-payment.
The Indonesia response is that the Avanti payment was “postponed” because of budget issues. The first payment was made, in accordance with the contract, in 2016.