The Indonesian government has secured funding to begin production of the SATRIA broadband satellite, despite the fact that its orbital slot is still up in the air. After obtaining partial funding in September, Thales Alenia Space began designing the Ka-band spacecraft, that Sandrine Bielecki, the spokesperson, told SpaceNews followed work up to this stage.
Bielecki stated the program will proceed without interruption now that it has received $545 million in funding, which is supported in part by France’s Bpifrance export-credit company. It has been in “high gear” since September, with “many design achievements already achieved,” according to a business official. The debt portion of SATRIA’s financing plan is $431 million, with the remainder coming from equity.
Bpifrance is providing loans issued by the Banco Santander, HSBC, as well as Korea Development Bank (KDB), according to domestic satellite provider Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN), which is offering the equity portion through a public-private partnership.
South Korea’s state-owned KDB announced a $126 million investment in the project. A commitment of $150 million has been made by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The financing agreements were signed in a virtual event on February 26 at the Indonesia’s Presidential Palace, which was attended by President Joko Widodo.
SATRIA, which transmits over 150 gigabits for every second across Indonesia, aims to bridge the digital gap by linking about 90,000 schools, 40,000 hospitals, as well as public buildings. This will also connect regional government locations currently not connected to satellite or terrestrial networks.
Thales Alenia Space was appointed the main contractor for the SATRIA in July 2019, but due to funding delays, a tentative work agreement was not signed until September 3, 2020, over a year later. SATRIA is currently on track to miss a legislative deadline to begin services from its own 146°E orbital spot by 2022 March as a result of the delay. The Jakarta Post announced in November that Indonesia’s government had requested a deadline extension from the International Telecommunication Union, that governs orbital slots, noting a COVID-19 disturbance.
According to the newspaper, the nation’s government is also exploring plans to retain the slot by temporarily shifting another spacecraft to around 146°E or using a different orbital filing entirely. The newspaper reported at the time that the government expected SATRIA to be launched in the fourth quarter of the year 2023, rather than March 2023. SATRIA’s deployment has been scheduled for the very first semester of the year 2023, according to Thales Alenia Space. Until this report was released, PSN was unable to comment.