This undated photo shows Nusantara Dua satellite under construction in Beijing. (Photo courtesy of Pasifik Satelit Nusantara)

Indonesia Scrambles for Satellite Replacement After Nusantara Dua Destroyed in Launch From China


APRIL 11, 2020

Jakarta. Indonesia has scrambled to find satellite a replacement as 23 television and eight radio broadcasts are at risk of stopping after a $200 million communication satellite get destroyed during launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Xichang, China on Thursday. 

The destroyed satellite, Nusantara Dua, was supposed to replace mobile operator Indosat Ooredoo's Palapa-D satellite located at 113th east longitude that the company would phase out by the end of July 2020.

"This problem will certainly be anticipated by the Communication and Information Technology Ministry and will be brought forward to the International Telecommunication Union," Minister Johnny G. Plate said on Friday. He was referring to a United Nations' body overseeing global telecommunication. 

"The ministry will work closely with satellite operators to ensure that television and radio broadcasts carried out by the Palapa-D satellite will be guaranteed and continue to be available all Indonesian people," said Jhonny.

Nusantara Dua was owned and supposed to be operated by Palapa Satelit Nusa Sejahtera (PSNS), a joint venture company between satellite operator Pasifik Satelit Nusantara, Indosat and investment firm Pintar Nusantara Sejahtera own the satellite. 

Bayu Hanantasena, Indosat Oooredoo's chief business officer, said, for now, the Palapa-D satellite was still operational while the company was looking for a replacement satellite.

"We will continue to ensure the services provided to customers, especially broadcasters and communication subscribers can be served well and are not interrupted," Bayu said.

China Great Wall Industry Corporation made the Nusantara Dua satellite, which weighed 5,550 kilograms. The satellite has a capacity of 20x36 MHz C-band FSS transponders and 9.5 gigabits per second (Gbps) HTS. The satellite can cover regions throughout Indonesia, Asia Pacific, to Australia for C-band transponders and throughout Indonesia for HTS.

Adi Rahman Adiwoso, the managing director of Pasifik Satelit Nusantara, said an anomaly occurred when the Long March 3B rocket that carried the satellite was about to release its third level thruster, leading to an explosion. 

"The satellite fell into the ocean and could not be saved. But it has been fully insured," Adi said on Friday.