A deadline has been set for the launching of the country’s first domestically designed and assembled satellites, one for remote sensing surveillance and the other for amateur radio communication, an official from the Indonesian National Institute of Aeronautics and Space, or Lapan, said on Friday.
The two satellites — Lapan A-2 and Lapan-Orari — are on schedule to go into orbit in April next year on the back of an Indian rocket, said Toto Marnanto Kadri, head of the Aerospace Electronics Technology Center at Lapan,
“We expect to finish the satellites by February 2010, so that by March or early April we will be able to send both satellites to India for the launching,” Toto said.
The government, through the Ministry of Finance, allotted Rp 35 billion for the project, with another Rp 9 billion from Lapan.
Both new satellites are modeled on a satellite — Lapan-Tubsat — built in collaboration with the Technical University of Berlin and launched from India in 2007.
However, the Lapan A-2, Toto said, had advanced features that would give it a performance edge over its predecessor.
He said Lapan A-2 would be equipped with two star sensors — compared to Lapan-Tubsat’s one — which would improve the satellite’s control accuracy.
While the two satellites are similar in size and weight — A-2 at 60 kilograms would be heavier by 3 kilograms — and both carry cameras with five-meter ground resolution, Toto said the biggest advantage of the A-2 was its information gathering potential.
He said that the A-2 would orbit above the country 14.7 times a day in comparison to Lapan-Tubsat’s six times.
He said that the photographs from the satellite would assist the government and private sector with information that covered areas such as natural resources, environment, urban development, climate, disaster information and mitigation, and space utilization.
Meanwhile, the second new satellite, Lapan-Orari, would also carry features to help the community, especially amateur radio enthusiasts, and included voice relay technology and an automatic positioning relay system.
Toto said that Lapan’s aim was to be an independent producer of satellites and support technology, adding that most of the components used in the satellites were brought from Germany.
“We want to move to an independent phase soon, so we are now trying hard to develop our own satellites,” he said.
Source: The Jakarta Globe