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The name Palapa also alludes to "Palapa Oath" taken by Gajah Mada, a 14th century Prime Minister of the Javanese Majapahit Empire described in the Pararaton (Book of Kings). Gajah Mada swore that he would not taste any spice, as long as he had not succeeded in unifying Nusantara (the Indonesian archipelago).
As the first developing country to operate its own domestic satellite system in the mid seventies, Indonesia has consistently taken the steps necessary for developing its existing geostationary satellite system for multiple services, safeguarding its global orbital allocation on an equitable first come first served basis, and embracing emerging satellite communication systems (including non-geostationary ones) expected to yet emerge from their lingering stage.
The program was started in February 1975, when the government of Indonesia awarded the contract for two satellites to Boeing. The name Palapa was chosen by president Suharto and means 'fruits of labor'.
The purpose of the system was to unify the telecommunications of the nation. Many years of operation have shown that satellite technology is the best solution for improving telecommunications in Indonesia. The system was started with 2 satellites, each with 12 transponders (for a total of 24 transponders), and 40 earth stations.
The system now has 3 satellites, each with 24 transponders (for a total of 72 transponders), and thousands of earth stations. The services have been extended to satisfy the requirements of the region as well as the original objectives. The use of satellite transponders in the region is increasing rapidly. In the next ten years, opportunities in the satellite communications business will become even more attractive. The next generation Palapa-C will incorporate improvements in capacity, quality, and coverage. The new frequency bands (Ku- and Extended-C Band) will be used to meet the new transponders.
The generations of Palapa satellites has been launched to fulfill the communication needs of Indonesia that keeps increasing day by day. The Palapa satellite continually becomes a foundation for the communications system of the biggest archipelago country in the world. To make this satellite last longer, high quality is needed. The type of microelectronic technology in this satellite determines the work of Palapa to run its task.
One of the applications is news broadcasting by digital satellite (DSNG). This technology has been developed for five years so that news, both in audio and video form, would be broadcast from one place to another. The development of technology is affected by the advancement of satellite technology. To use the DSNG application, a TV broadcaster must rent a minimum of 9 MHz to allow a video program or audio stereo to be broadcasted on a delayed basis.
Indonesia registered the connection line for Broadcasting Satellite Services in the early 1990s to ITU. IndoStar-1 is a Broadcasting Satellite Service (BSS) system operating since 1997.
Series A 
Two identical satellites were built by Hughes (now Boeing Satellite Systems). Each of the HS-333 weighed 574 kg.
|Palapa A1||July 8, 1976||Cape Canaveral, Pad LC-17A||Delta-2914|
|Palapa A2||March 3, 1977||Cape Canaveral, Pad LC-17A||Delta-2914|
Series B 
Four satellites of the second series were built. They were all of the type Hughes HS-376. When the launch of Palapa B2 failed, a third satellite was ordered. Originally named Palapa B3 and scheduled for STS-61-H, it was finally launched as Palapa B2P. Meanwhile Palapa B2 was retrieved by STS-51-A, refurbished and relaunched later as Palapa B2R.
|Palapa B1||June 6, 1983||STS-7|
|Palapa B2||February 3, 1984||STS-41-B|
|Palapa B2P||March 20, 1987||Cape Canaveral, Pad LC-17B||Delta-3920 PAM-D|
|Palapa B2R||April 13, 1990||Cape Canaveral, Pad LC-17B||Delta-6925-8|
|Palapa B4||May 13, 1992||Cape Canaveral, Pad LC-17B||Delta-7925-8|
Series C 
Two satellites of the HS-601 type were launched in 1996. As C1 had some battery problems, it became an insurance claim and Hughes bought back the satellite. With reduced availability it was then used by several other customers.
|Palapa C1||February 1, 1996||Cape Canaveral, Pad LC-36B||Atlas-2AS|
|Palapa C2||May 16, 1996||Kourou ELA-2||Ariane-44L H10-3|
Series D 
The Palapa D satellite was 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. The satellite was 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. 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.
At the end of October, Palapa D started its airing operations. Only a few channels have been replaced, yet many are awaiting 11 November for the start of Palapa D's full operation. As of its release, the TV channels on Palapa C2 that have been relocated are; 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.
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.
- Gunter's Space Page - information on Palapa
- Palapa A at Boeing Palapa-A
- Palapa C2 at Lyngsat
- Palapa D at Lyngsat
- "Indonesian Satellite Reaches Preset Orbit Despite Skewed Launch". Spacemart.com. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
- Thales Alenia Space Press release