Thales Alenia to build Indonesian space satellite
October 29, 2021
By Chris Forrester
Thales Alenia Space has signed a prime contractor agreement with PT Telkom Satelit Indonesia (Telkomsat) to build a powerful 32 Gb/s high-throughput satellite. It will be delivered in early 2024 and placed at 113 degrees east.
The craft will operate in C and Ku-bands. Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor and responsible for the design, construction, testing and on-ground delivery of the satellite. It is also in charge of the early orbital positioning phase (LEOP) and in-orbit tests (IOT). In addition, Thales Alenia Space will supply the Ground control segment and will train and support the Customer team of engineers on site. The in-orbit support will also be provided all along the satellite’s lifetime.
Built on Thales Alenia Space’s historical Spacebus 4000B2 platform, HTS 113BT will provide more than 32 Gbps capacity over Indonesia. The satellite will weigh about 4 metric tons at launch and will be delivered early 2024 for a 15-year expected lifetime.
“It’s very fulfilling to be able to support our customer’s business development after Telkom 3S. HTS 113BT is the fourth telecom programme to serve the Indonesian satellite operators confirming that Thales Alenia Space is able to match its customers’ needs by offering a wide telecom satellites product range,” said Hervé Derrey, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space.
The build time is shorter than usual and reflects something of a problem after the retirement of a previous satellite (Palapa D) last year. A replacement was built (Nusantara Dua built by China Great Wall Industry Corporation) and launched on time (April 2020) but its launch vehicle, a Chinese Long March 3B/G2 rocket suffered problems with its third stage reportedly failing. The 5.5 tonnes satellite was lost.
The satellite was designed to cover regions throughout the Asia Pacific and Australia for C-band transponders and throughout Indonesia for High Throughput services. The satellite could have also been used for VSAT, broadcast, broadband, backbone, and backhaul services.
However, this loss placed considerable pressure on Indonesia. Under ITU rules a vacant orbital slot can be used by rivals if no replacement is implemented. Indonesia needed to get a satellite into position by December 2024. That dilemma has now been solved with the Thales Alenia announcement.