PSN plans VHTS satellite for 2023

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JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian satellite operator Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN) plans to continue its ongoing fleet expansion with a new satellite carrying 300 gigabits per second of capacity by 2023. 

Dani Indra Widjanarko, director of planning and development at PSN, said the company is still designing the satellite — which would increase its fleet size to four — but wants to have significantly more capacity on it than any of its previous satellites. 

PSN launched a 12 Gbps communications satellite from Maxar Technologies in February aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. A new 10 Gbps satellite is under construction by China Great Wall Industry Corp. for a launch in April 2020, according to a presentation Widjanarko gave June 26 at the APSAT conference here. 

PSN executives said they underestimated the demand for satellite broadband when ordering those spacecraft. 

“We are basically right now chasing capacity,” PSN CEO Adi Adiwoso said June 25. “If I had to do it again, Nusantara 1 and Nusantara 2, I would probably develop the satellites to be at least 100 Gbps rather than 10 to 12 Gbps.”

PSN is preparing a third satellite, but will design it to the specifications provided by the Indonesian government, which called for 150 Gbps of capacity. PSN won a competition to prepare and operate a broadband satellite called SATRIA, expected to launch in 2022. The Indonesian government will use all of its capacity. Adiwoso said the only reason PSN is designing that satellite with 150 Gbps is due to government requirements. PSN selected Thales Alenia Space to build the SATRIA satellite, Widjanarko said. 

PSN signed a memorandum of understanding with China Great Wall Industry Corp. for a new satellite in 2017, but has not converted it into a contract. Widjanarko said PSN is open to discussions with other manufacturers for its fourth satellite. Alternatively, PSN could obtain 300 Gbps of new capacity through multiple smaller geostationary satellites instead of one big spacecraft, he said. 

Owning a 300 Gbps satellite could position PSN as an operator with one of the highest capacity geostationary satellites in the world. Only Viasat, Eutelsat, Inmarsat and Hughes have announced plans for geostationary satellites with higher amounts of capacity. 

Widjanarko said the coverage area for the prospective fourth satellite is still being finalized.