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IndoStar-1, which also known as Cakrawarta-1, is a communication satellite that was launched the evening of November 12, 1997 at 21:48 GMT aboard an Ariane 44L-3 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, as the first direct broadcasting satellite (DBS) in Asia, IndoStar-1 would initiate a new communication service for Indonesian society such as direct-to-home television.


The IndoStar-1 geostationary broadcast satellite (the first STAR spacecraft bus) and the Turn-Key IndoVision Direct To Home (DTH) program was developed by Thomas van der Heyden. The satellite was built by a team of engineers at the US company Defense Systems Inc. (DSI), which had up until the IndoStar program (later renamed to Cakrawarta by the then president of Indonesia - Suharto), focused on Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites for the US government, DARPA and NASA.

Under the contract DSI together with its sister company International Technologies Inc. (ITI) constructed the Indostar-1 satellite program for on-orbit turn-key delivery for the Indonesian television broadcasting company PT Media Citra Indostar (MCI). The Turn-Key, End-to-End contract, which included; Launch, Tracking Telemetry & Control Station, Up-Link Station for 60 MPEG television channels, Integrated Receiver Decoder (IRD) design, ITU regulatory filings, insurance, and spacecraft - was the first fully turn key contract in the commercial satellite industry.

In 1995 DSI was sold to Computer Technology Associates (CTA) which was sold two years later to Orbital Sciences Corporation during the final stages of the Indostar-1 satellite integration in early 1997. The Indostar-1 satellite design was developed from scratch by Thomas van der Heyden and Dr. George Sebestyen founder of DSI, became the first GEO LightSat, their STAR Bus platform.

The Cakrawarta satellite was successfully launched into the geostationary orbital slot located at 107.7 East Longitude above Indonesia by the ArianeSpace 44L launch vehicle on November 12, 1997, co-manifested with the Sirius-2 satellite.

IndoStar-1 was the world's first commercial communications satellite to use S-band frequencies for broadcast (pioneered by van der Heyden), which efficiently penetrate the atmosphere and provide high-quality transmissions to small-diameter 80 cm antennas in regions that experience heavy rainfall such as Indonesia. Similar performance is not economically feasible with comparable Ku- or C-band DTH satellite systems since more power is required in these bands to penetrate the moist atmosphere.

Due to a failed power regulator, two of the satellite's five transponders could not be used at 100% output whenever the satellite was eclipsed by the Earth. During these periods, only 80 percent of the required power was available. The spacecraft, with a design life of seven (7) years, operated successfully for 11 years, providing 60 channels of MPEG II digital quality television to the 235 million people of Indonesia.

On Saturday, May 16, 2009, IndoVision launched the replacement for the Cakrawarta-1 (IndoStar-1) satellite - Indostar II from the Baikonur Kazakhstan, which went operational in July 2009. Indostar-1 had operated almost five (5) years longer than its seven (7) year design life.


IndoStar-1 was the world's first commercial communications satellite that uses S-band frequency, which are less vulnerable to atmospheric interference than higher and more common frequencies of C-band and Ku-band frequencies. Provided high-quality transmissions to small-diameter antennas (70 cm) and penetrated the atmosphere efficiently, this satellite is well suited for Indonesia, the tropical climate country that has heavy rain. This satellite, which is managed and operated by PT Media Citra Indostar (MCI), provides a direct broadcast by high quality digital transmission. Operationally, IndoStar-1 satellite is used for commercial service by cable television. Cable television uses this satellite to relays international programs and local programs directly that can be received to all over Indonesia.

Indovision used this satellite for its program until they move to use IndoStar-2.

Description of IndoStar-1 Satellite[edit]

  • Status: Satellite was launched via Ariane (V102) on November 12, 1997
  • Destination: Geosynchronous Orbit @ 107E
  • Operator: PT MediaCitra Indostar [MCI], Jakarta
  • Performance Launch mass: 1,350 kg
  • Class: Communications
  • Mission: Provide direct broadcast television to Indonesia (high quality digital transmission, approximately >50 television channels)
  • Mission life: 7 years with fuel for 12 years
  • Designed by: Thomas van der Heyden
  • Manufacturer: DSI now Orbital Sciences Corporation

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