Indonesia has moved to solve its lack of internet connectivity in some of its rural areas by teaming up with Elon Musk-owned SpaceX and launching a satellite.
The satellite named Satria-1 was launched from the U.S. on June 19, 2023, with the payload deployed by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
With about a third of Indonesians still without stable access to the internet, this fresh launch will aim to fix a large part of the problem by connecting around 90,000 schools as well as 40,000 hospitals and government structures to the internet when the satellites becomes fully operational next year.
“SpaceX launched the PSN Satria mission to a geosynchronous transfer orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida,” the spacecraft company said on its website.
The satellite, which was manufactured by French defense electronics firm Thales and cost approximately US$540 million to create, has been described as the country’s “first government-owned multi-function satellite with the biggest capacity in Asia” by President Joko Widodo on his official Instagram account.
Its construction progress was reportedly halted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, although now that it’s here, it will serve to “bridge the digital divide” considering its status as one of the most powerful satellites in the region.
It will orbit above the Papua province, and will be designated as one to “distribute internet access, especially for education, health, and public services in the remote, isolated, and outermost areas”, according to acting communications and informatics minister Mahfud MD.
As mentioned previously, the satellite will only become full operational in 2024, where it will start providing connection speeds of up to 150 gigabytes per second — around three times faster than the current speed of satellite internet in the archipelago.
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Cover image sourced from The Jakarta Post and Tech in Asia.