Indonesia launches the very first internet-only satellite with SpaceX rocket

Indonesia meluncurkan satelit internet-only pertama dengan roket SpaceX

Over three hundred people crowded the lobby of telecoms company Pasifik Satelit Nusantara ( PSN ) in South Jakarta at 8: 30 a.m. on Friday. They stared intently at a huge LED screen displaying a live broadcast of a SpaceX Falcon 9 space rocket placed over 17, 400 kilometers away at the Cape Canaveral in Florida, the United States.   

That was a make-or-break moment for the PSN as the rocket was transporting its sixth and the country’s largest capacity satellite to date – the Nusantara Satu satellite – that guarantees to help bridge Indonesia’s digital space and thus increaseeconomic activity in the regions outside of Java .  PSN financial director Ravi Talwar was among the visitors in Jakarta. 

“I was nervous . It had to work . We had hundreds of people doing this for four years ,” he declared .  His anxiety was validated as the Nusantara Satu project cost US$230 million , financed by the PSN’s internal money at 30 percent and state-owned export credit agency Export Growth Canada at 70 percent . 

His expectations were not in vain . Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched the rocket , which also carried two other payloads : a US Air Force experimental spacecraft and also an Israeli moon lander that , if it successfully lands in eight weeks , will become the world’s first privately funded moon landing . 

This kind of “ride-sharing” halved the price of launching the Nusantara Satu , which utilized four tons out of the Falcon 9’s maximum seven-ton capability . One time reaching it is geostationary orbit above Papua within two weeks , the Nusantara Satu , that has a capacity of 15 ,000 megabits per second ( Mbps ) , is predicted to provide internet connection of up to 3Mbps for 10 ,000 Indonesian villages this year .   

PSN president director Adi Rahman Adiwoso shared reporters during a press meeting that his company was extremely optimistic on growth because poor telecommunications national infrastructure outside of Java meant that lots of people needed torely on the satellite-facilitated internet . 
“We cannot enter Java because it has sufficient internet connectivity , either through 4G or fiber optic . So our service , which is more costly , cannot compete there ,” he said . 

Rather , PSN directly sells its satellite internet to remote villages at a pricy rate of Rp 100 ,000 ( US$7 .13 ) per gigabyte ( GB ) , while other providers sell 30 GB for Rp 30 ,000 in Java .  Moreover , PSN’s promised 3 Mbps internet speed is slower compared to the last recorded average speed of 7 .2 Mbps in Indonesia , based on Akamai Technologies . 

However , PSN calculated that there were a minimum of 25 million Indonesians , mainly in eastern Indonesia , who could not access conventional internet features and thus would have to purchase satellite internet .  “We also observed 40 to 50 percent of Indonesians make use of video call , which probably consumes above 1 GB of data ,” said PSN commerce director Agus Budi Tjahjono . 

Talwar declared his company anticipated to record $55 million in revenue every year from Nusantara Satu’s operations . 
The company is so optimistic over its market potential that it has already started working on two more satellites called the Nusantara Dua and Nusantara Tiga , that are slated for launch in 2020 and 2022 respectively .

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