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This article is about Indonesian satellite. For Gajah Mada's historical oath, see Palapa oath.
For other uses, see Palapa (disambiguation).
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. First launched on July 1976, the satellite has made Indonesia as the first developing country to operate their own domestic satellite system in the mid seventies.[1]


The satellite system 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.[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 (historian suggests it refer to spice or any kinds of flavourings), 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] On reverence to this ancient oath of unification, the Palapa satellite series was intended as a technological means to unify modern Indonesia.[1]

Series A[edit]

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[edit]

Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up a "For Sale" sign after Palapa B2 was recovered.

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 II 6925-8
Palapa B4 May 13, 1992 Cape Canaveral, Pad LC-17B Delta II 7925-8

Series C[edit]

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 IIAS
Palapa C2 May 16, 1996 Kourou ELA-2 Ariane-44L H10-3

Series D[edit]

Main article: Palapa-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[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "History of Palapa Satellite". Indosat. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "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. 
  3. ^ "Indonesian Satellite Reaches Preset Orbit Despite Skewed Launch". 14 September 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2009. 
  4. ^ Thales Alenia Space Press release