The Satria-1 multifunction satellite may not be operational despite being in orbit. This is because the satellite-based internet distribution system requires ground stations, including VSATs, to receive signals from Satria-1. Currently, there are only 37,000 target locations equipped with the necessary infrastructure out of the originally planned 150,000 locations. The procurement of VSATs and ground stations was intended to support the Republic of Indonesia Satellite or Satria system. The winners of the tender for the infrastructure installation were expected to consist of multiple companies.
Ground stations, also known as the ground segment, are telecommunication terminals designed to receive radio waves from space or satellites. These stations are a crucial component of the satellite transmission system on Earth, converting base band signals and/or sound frequency signals into radio frequency signals. Ground stations include VSAT parabolic antennas, Low Noise Blocks (LNB), Block Up Converters (BUC), modems, and routers. The winners of the tender were required to install and maintain the equipment to ensure its proper operation.
The cost of one VSAT in 2019, for a scale of 150,000 locations, was estimated to be around US$500-1,000. However, current prices can reach tens of millions depending on the installation location. Challenges that need to be anticipated include the availability and stability of electricity in remote areas, as well as land conditions and status. To overcome these challenges, experts suggest that Bakti, the state-owned company responsible for the project, should collaborate with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Villages. This cooperation would help determine the electricity requirements and involve local communities or vocational training centers.
The installation time for VSAT devices depends on the location and position of the equipment. If the devices are already on-site, the installation process usually takes about 1-2 weeks. However, if the devices are being sourced or installed from the beginning, it can take up to 1-2 months. Collaboration with other institutions is essential, as the VSAT is being deployed in various locations that are not owned by Bakti.
The Satria-1 multifunction satellite has completed its journey to 146 degrees east (BT) orbit and is undergoing a series of tests before full operation. The satellite will undergo In-Orbit Testing (IOT) in early November to examine its performance. Following that, the satellite will go through integration with the ground system and end-to-end testing to ensure operational readiness.
The Satria-1 satellite aims to support Indonesia’s sovereignty through digital connectivity. Its high-speed internet capabilities, ranging from 3-20 Mbps per location, are expected to drive digital transformation in various sectors, including government, education, and healthcare. However, the success of this initiative relies on the establishment of signal reception points at the intended locations within ministries and government agencies, as there are still challenges to overcome.