Domestic Communications Satellite for Indonesia
||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
||3.41 m (11 ft 2 in)
|Weight in Orbit:
(beginning of life)
|297 kg (654 lb)
When Indonesia's first domestic communications satellite, Palapa-A1, successfully achieved synchronous orbit in July 1976, a new era in telecommunications dawned for the nation's 130 million people, the fifth largest population in the world.
On August 17, 1976, the nation became electronically unified when the satellite started service over the world's largest archipelago amid national ceremonies celebrating the republic's 31 years of independence.
The satellite was launched for Indonesia by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. It was retired in May 1985, after operating nearly two years longer than required. A second satellite, Palapa-A2, was launched in March1977 and was retired in January 1988, nearly four years past its required life.
The Palapa-A1 satellites, built by Boeing Satellite Systems, are identical to the Anik and Westar satellites Boeing built for the first domestic systems in Canada and the United States.
The Palapa-A satellite program began in February 1975 when the Indonesian government awarded two separate contracts to Boeing for the construction of two satellites, a master control station for the entire system, and nine earth stations.
Completion of the earth stations and development, construction, and launch of the first satellite took place in 17 months, one of the fastest production schedules ever undertaken by Boeing management and engineers.
Electronic platform installation
Other firms built 30 earth stations to complete the group segment of the system, which was controlled and operated by PERUMTEL, the government-owned telecommunications company.
Palapa-A's specially designed antenna concentrated the satellites signal power on all Indonesian islands, including the main isles of Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Irian Jaya, as well as the surrounding southeast Asia area including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.
The earth stations relayed satellite traffic to PERUMTEL facilities in each of the serving cities and interconnected with the company's terrestrial microwave network for distribution of voice, television, facsimile, and data.
Palapa-A was a 12-transponder satellite with an average capacity of 6000 voice circuits or 12 simultaneous color television channels or any combination of the two. Contract lifetime of the satellite in orbit was seven years.
The satellite was 11 feet 2 inches high (including antenna) and 6 feet 3 inches in diameter. The shaped-beam antenna was a solar transparent 5-foot parabolic dish. Launch weight of the satellite was 1,265 pounds; in-orbit weight was 654 pounds.
NASA's launch vehicle for the Palapa-A satellite was the Delta 2914, the same type booster used to launch the earlier Anik and Westar satellites.
Palapa, a name signifying national unity, was chosen by President Suharto in July 1975. The name symbolizes the fulfillment of a vow for unity first expressed by GajahMada, a revered national hero of the 14th century who served as a Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Majapahit. He had vowed not to partake of palapa, a national delicacy,until the goal of national unity was achieved.