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View of the Palapa B-2 satellite from Space Shuttle Challenger after deployment on STS-41-B in 1984.

Palapa is a series of communication satellites owned by Indosat, an Indonesian telecommunication company. All the satellites were launched by the United States, starting with the first in July 1976, at which time Indonesia became the first developing country to operate its own domestic satellite system.[1]


The first satellite was first launched on 7:31 P.M. July 8, 1976 Florida time, or at 6:31 A.M. Western Indonesian Time, on July 9, 1976 on a US rocket from the Kennedy Space Center.[2]

The name "Palapa" was bestowed by then Indonesian President Suharto, after Palapa oath taken in 1334 by Gajah Mada, the Prime Minister of Majapahit Kingdom.[2] According to the Pararaton (Book of Kings), Gajah Mada swore that he would not taste any palapa (historians suggest it refers to spice or a kind of flavouring), as long as he had not succeeded in unifying Nusantara (the Indonesian archipelago).[1] After watching the launching process of the satellite via television in Jakarta, President Suharto revealed his reason on naming the satellite "palapa"; to show that Indonesia had a glorious past, and also hope that the system can unite the archipelago.[2]

Series D

The Palapa D satellite was manufactured by Thales Alenia Space and launched aboard a Chinese Long March 3B rocket on 31 August 2009. However it failed to reach the intended orbit following a failure of the third stage of the rocket to reignite as planned. Thanks to SpaceBus platform efficiency, the satellite was recovered and maneuvered into the correct geosynchronous orbit by September, but this left it with only enough fuel for 10 years in orbit, a third less than contracted.[3] This US$ 200 million satellite has more transponders than its predecessors (40 transponders, C2 only has 36). 40% of its transponders will be used by Indosat for their own purposes while the other 60% will be rented to others.

Indosat will use Palapa D for their broadband internet service (IM2) with Ku-band technology (12/14 GHz). In 2006, their total income increased about 12.3%. With the new satellite coming up, the company hopes to earn more profits from the multimedia, internet, and communication businesses.[4]

At the end of October[when?], Palapa D started its airing operations. Only a few channels have been replaced, yet many are awaiting 11 November[when?] for the start of Palapa D's full operation. As of its release, the TV channels on Palapa C2 that have been relocated are; MINANG TV, RCTI, SCTV, Global TV, METRO TV, TVRI, NHK, Almanhar TV and Spacetoon. Some radio channels have also surfaced which have been included from Satellindo's system.[citation needed]

Palapa D is currently running well with plans to include a new cable TV channel through the Ku-band of the satellite which is planned to include High Definition channels. New channels have also been added and replaced as of May 2010. GlobalTV was replaced by Lejel, a home shopping channel. After the insertion of Lejel TV, Global TV received its own transponder. Recent rumors states that KBS World Indonesia will renew its position in the satellite by transferring to a horizontal transponder.[citation needed]

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 "History of Palapa Satellite". Indosat. Retrieved 14 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Planning and Development of Indonesia's Domestic Communications Satellite System PALAPA". Online Journal of Space Communication. Society for Satellite Professionals International (SSPI). Retrieved 14 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Indonesian Satellite Reaches Preset Orbit Despite Skewed Launch". 14 September 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Thales Alenia Space Press release