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Indonesia Launches First Student-Made Satellite

Wahyudi Hasbi, Head of the Satellite Technology Research Centre of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), acknowledged the successful launch of the first student-made SS-1 satellite. The accomplishment demonstrates that Indonesian students are ready to enter the high-tech era.

“With their knowledge, they are prepared to face technological challenges. So typically, today’s young people are more interested in software development, but they can also work on the high-tech hardware side,” Hasbi said.

The launch of the SS-1 satellite is expected to motivate satellite development in Indonesian universities and students are being encouraged to become more involved in this field of research. BRIN is also keen to promote the growth of new businesses in the sector and is supporting several start-ups working in space or satellites.

“We hope that other young people will appear as well. But the most important aspect is that they never give up. We can see that there will be open doors if we don’t give up. My message is that they should be able to establish a new Indonesian satellite industry with their current experience,” he encouraged.

Surya Satellite 1, or SS-1, is Indonesia’s first student-built nanosatellite to be launched into orbit. It successfully launched from the International Space Station (ISS) in the United States on October 27, 2022. The SS-1 satellite is scheduled to enter orbit in mid-January 2023.

The satellite was designed by six Surya University students, Setra Yoman Prahyang, Afik Herdika Sulistya, Roberto Gunawan, M. Zulfa Dhiyaulhaq, Hery Steven Mindarto, and Suhandinata. It will serve as an information system and is intended to be used as a communication medium to send short messages. Furthermore, the SS-1 serves as a natural disaster detector, capable of reaching all parts of Indonesia.

According to Setra Yoman Prahyang, Head of the SS-1 Team, the nanosatellite is an automatic packet reporting system that serves as a communication medium via satellite in short text form. This satellite could be used to detect natural disasters.

The satellite can provide communication services to determine ground conditions for remote or inaccessible areas. The satellite service coverage area includes all of Indonesia. Since it was ejected from the ISS, SS-1 will be operational for one year. During its one-year operating period, the satellite is being studied to determine its success and performance in space. Setra hopes the satellite will aid in developing Indonesia’s information infrastructure.

Indonesia intends to launch three satellites into orbit this year. The first is Boeing’s Hot Backup Satellite, which will launch in May. Second, the government will establish the SATRIA-1 satellite in June or July. Third, the Telkom-Sat Satellite launch, which the schedule is being planned. The HBS and SATRIA satellites are expected to arrive in orbit in the fourth quarter of 2023.

The HBS will serve 20,000 public service facilities in Indonesia following its initial launch. The PSN-N3 satellite will perform operations and maintenance on the SATRIA-1 satellite. Meanwhile, the local satellite company will operate and maintain the Boeing satellite, known as PSN-N5, as a private satellite.

With the satellite’s launch, Indonesia will have a satellite capacity of 2 X 150 Gbps. Meanwhile, Indonesia will use a total of 230 Gbps. SATRIA-1 will provide 150 Gbps for use throughout Indonesia, while the remaining 80 Gbps comes from 150 Gbps Hot Backup Boeing. While the remaining 70 Gbps will be used by the Philippines and Malaysia (PPP) as part of the public-private partnership agreement. Minister explained that the country should assess commercial feasibility and commercial and financial considerations.

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