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Mission type Communication
Operator Indosat Ooredoo
COSPAR ID 2009-046A
SATCAT no. 35812
Mission duration 15 years (planned)
10.5 years (expected)[1]
Spacecraft properties
Bus Spacebus-4000B3
Manufacturer Thales Alenia Space[2]
Start of mission
Launch date 31 August 2009, 09:28 (2009-08-31UTC09:28Z) UTC
Rocket Chang Zheng 3B/E
Launch site Xichang LA-2
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Geostationary
Longitude 113° East
Perigee 35,783 kilometres (22,235 mi)[3]
Apogee 35,803 kilometres (22,247 mi)[3]
Inclination 0.03 degrees[3]
Period 1436.13 minutes[3]
Epoch 23 January 2015, 13:40:35 UTC[3]

Palapa-D, also known as Palapa D1, is an Indonesian geostationary communications satellite which is operated by Indosat Ooredoo. It was built by Thales Alenia Space, based on the Spacebus-4000B3 satellite bus, and carries 35 G/H band and 5 J band transponders (US IEEE C and Ku bands respectively). It is positioned in geostationary orbit at a longitude of 113° East, where it will replace the Palapa C2 satellite.[4]

Indosat ordered Palapa-D from Thales Alenia Space in 2007.[5] The satellite was built without using American components, and was therefore not restricted by US International Traffic in Arms Regulations,[6] which allowed the China Great Wall Industry Corporation to be selected as a launch service provider.[7]


A Long March 3B rocket, flying from Launch Area 2 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre was used to launch Palapa-D. A problem with the third stage of its carrier rocket left it in an incorrect orbit,[8] which was subsequently corrected using the spacecraft's onboard propulsion system.

After launch, Palapa-D was to have separated from its carrier rocket into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, however one of its two identical upper-stage engines failed to deliver the necessary thrust,[9][10] resulting in it reaching a lower orbit than planned. The 400 newton apogee motor of the satellite was subsequently used, in a non-nominally mode[clarification needed] to raise it into geostationary orbit.[citation needed]

Recovery and operations[edit]

On 3 September, the satellite's orbit was adjusted, placing it into a geostationary transfer orbit.[11] It reached geostationary orbit on 9 September.[12] It underwent on-orbit testing, and arrived at its orbital slot of 113° East in mid-September. After completing its testing, it is now being used to provide communications to Asia and Australia.

Palapa-D was built with a design life of fifteen years, but due to the expenditure of fuel during maneuvers to correct its orbit, it is expected to have enough fuel for about ten years of operations, according to Reynald Seznec, President of Thales Alenia Space.[13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thales Alenia Space announced that the Palapa-D communications satellite is now positioned at its final location (113° East) and fully ready for operations for more than 10.5 years, Cannes, November 16, Thales Alenia Space statement concerning In Orbit Acceptance Review of the Palapa-D satellite
  2. ^ "Thales Alenia Space statement concerning Palapa-D satellite". Thales Alenia Space. 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "PALAPA D Satellite details 2009-046A NORAD 35812". N2YO. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Thales Alenia Space To Build Palapa-D Satellite For Indosat". Space Mart. 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  5. ^ "China to launch Indonesia's communications satellite". China View. 2009-08-29. 
  6. ^ Brown, Peter J. (2008-12-04). "US firms tired of being shut out". Asia Times. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  7. ^ de Selding, Peter B. (2007-07-09). "PT Indosat Picks Chinese Rocket To Launch Its New Telecom Sat". Retrieved 2009-08-23. [dead link]
  8. ^ Barbosa, Rui C (2009-08-31). "Chang Zheng-3B suffers third stage problem during Palapa-D launch". Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  9. ^ Tong, Xiong (2009-08-31). "Indonesian satellite launched in China fails to enter orbit". Xinhua. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Thales Alenia Space statement concerning orbital positioning of the Palapa-D satellite". Thales Alenia Space. 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  12. ^ "Palapa-D communications satellite now in geostationary orbit". Thales Alenia Space. 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ de Selding, Peter (2009-09-11). "Palapa-D to be Salvaged After Being Launched into Wrong Orbit". Space News. Retrieved 2009-09-11.