Artist's impression of SATRIA. Image courtesy of Thales Alenia Space.

Indonesia is readying its Very High Throughput Satellite SATRIA for launch in 2023. The satellite will provide broadband internet service (to include free WiFi access) to more than 149,400 unserved public service points, including schools, hospitals and local government locations in some of the least developed regions of Indonesia.

The full Ka-band SATRIA satellite, to be positioned at 146°E, will carry more than 150 gigabits per second over the full Indonesian territory. Dedicated to narrowing the digital divide, SATRIA has the ambition to connect 93,900 schools and educational institutions, 47,900 village office locations, sub-districts and regional government offices, 3,700 health facilities, and 4,500 other public service locations not linked by existing satellite or terrestrial infrastructure. The satellite will contribute to digital infrastructure developments in Indonesia. The SATRIA satellite project is being carried out using a Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.

Background

During the pandemic, the communication and information sector in Indonesia experienced growth of nearly 11%. “This sector is the only sector that has grown positively to more than 10 percent compared to other sectors,” said Minister of Communication and Information Technology Johnny G. Plate in early September during a press conference. By 2030, Indonesia’s satellite capacity needs are projected to reach 900 Gbps or 0.9 Tbps. It is looking to work on the construction of a “ground segment to complement the space segment development,” according to the Minister.

The Minister explained that currently, Indonesia is utilizing 5 national satellites with a capacity of around 30 Gbps, and 4 foreign satellites with a capacity of 20 Gbps. “Thus, the total capacity of 9 satellites currently used to meet our telecommunication needs is around 50 Gbps. Comparatively, SATRIA’s capacity is certainly much larger, or about 3 times the total capacity of 9 satellites currently being utilized in Indonesia,” he remarked. He added that the satellite will be able to provide “excellent public services, where each service point will have a capacity of 1 Mbps.”

Funding

PT Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN) is an Indonesian satellite communication company. It was formed in 1991 and was the first satellite-based telecommunications company in Indonesia. Satelit Nusantara Tiga (SNT) is an Indonesian satellite service provider company established in 2018, as a venture of PSN, PT Pintar Nusantara Sejahtera (Pintar), PT Nusantara Satelit Sejahtera, and PT Dian Semesta Sentosa (subsidiary of PT Dian Swastatika Sentosa Tbk). PSN and Pintar are the majority shareholders of SNT and both will maintain majority ownership in the operating company throughout the project’s lifetime.

“The capital expenditure for the space segment for this project is worth around US$550 million. 20% of the value will be financed through equity, while the rest is funded through international financing,” the Minister explained.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has just announced that it will issue a US$150-million nonsovereign loan to Satelit Nusantara Tiga (SNT).

“We at SNT are delighted to have approval from AIIB’s Board of Directors for the financing of the project of the Government of Indonesia. The US$150-million long-term financing provided by AIIB is a key part of the fully syndicated financing package of US$435 million. We hope to have approval from the French Export Credit Agency, Bpifrance, and Korea Development Bank to provide the balance of the syndicated financing,” said Adi Rahman Adiwoso, SNT President Director.

“As the first satellite public-private partnership (PPP) project to be supported by AIIB, this ambitious engagement with Indonesia will offer the Bank a valuable opportunity to deepen our broader understanding of the satellite and telecommunications sector in the region, including the opportunities and challenges in structuring similar satellite PPP projects,” said AIIB Vice President, Investment Operations, D.J. Pandian. “The project is closely aligned with the Bank’s Digital Infrastructure Sector Strategy, which allows us to draw on AIIB’s solid skill sets in developing project finance structures and PPP frameworks in the digital infrastructure sector.”

This will be the first satellite PPP project to be supported by AIIB and will be cofinanced in conjunction with HSBC, Santander and Korea Development Bank. Bpifrance is acting as the export credit agency for the debt provided by HSBC and Santander, and for part of the debt provided by Korea Development Bank. Additional information about the Indonesia Multifunctional Satellite Public-Private-Partnership Project can be found here.

Manufacture & Launch

SNT and Thales Alenia Space (Joint Venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%)), announced in early September the signature of a Preliminary Work Agreement to start the activities of SATRIA.

Thales Alenia Space (TAS), acting as prime contractor for this program, initially signed on July 2019 for a consortium led by the domestic satellite operator Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN) on behalf of Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kominfo).

TAS will deliver the High Throughput Satellite (HTS) based on its Spacebus NEO full electric platform and fitted with a fifth-generation digital processor (5G). The company will also be in charge of providing two satellite control centers (main and backup), the telecommand and telemetry stations, and the ground mission segment linked to the fully processed payload. In addition, Thales Alenia Space will put in place a complete training program for PSN engineers, where part of them will join the project team as residents in Cannes and Toulouse during the duration of the program.

“We are particularly honored to reach this important milestone with the beginning of the industrial activities for the SATRIA program, the first HTS telecommunication satellite in Indonesia and the most powerful one over the Asian region”, declared Hervé Derrey, CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “SATRIA will benefit from all the expertise already developed by Thales Alenia Space on its Spacebus NEO platform as well as on its HTS payloads.”

“With a capacity of 150 Gbps, the satellite can provide more than three times the combined national capacities that are currently in use. We are confident that SATRIA can be the solution to the digital gap that still exists in Indonesia,” said Adi Rahman Adiwoso, CEO of PSN.

The launch vehicle to be used will be Space-X’s Falcon 9 Block 5, with the launch expected to take place in 2023. The service life for the satellite will be 15 years.

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