Indonesia launches locally made satellite
Penulis : Wnd
Media : Thejakarta post.com •
23 Jun 2016 •
Dibaca : 2681 x
The Indonesia-built LAPAN-A3 satellite was launched in India on Wednesday morning local time. The satellite, which was produced by the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) in collaboration with Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) in 2014, cost Rp 60 billion (US$4.5 million).
The LAPAN-A3 satellite was launched along with 19 other satellites from the US, Germany and Canada.“The satellite is designed to observe any areas in Indonesia that have the potential for farming. It can also record the size of agricultural land,” LAPAN head Thomas Djamaluddin told a media conference at the LAPAN building in Bogor, West Java.
He added that the LAPAN-A3 could also monitor ship movements around the world. It can detect illegal fishing and also suspicious movements of foreign ships through its Automatic Identification System (AIS) sensor.
“We will send data recorded by the satellite to the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry to be on alert if something suspicious is detected at sea so they can then decide what to do,” Thomas said, citing the detection of illegal fishing activities as an example of the satellite’s uses.
Head of LAPAN’s Aviation Technology Center Gunawan Setyo Prabowo said that although the satellite could not yet capture a vessel’s flag LAPAN had unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that could take clearer pictures of foreign ships.
“The UAV can be used to confirm images taken by the satellite,” Gunawan said.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla could not hide his excitement at LAPAN’s achievement in improving the country’s space technology. “Seventy-five percent of our area is water. Therefore, we need good monitoring systems of our territory,” Jusuf said.
The LAPAN-A3 satellite is a successor to the Rp 50 billion LAPAN-A2, which was launched in India in 2015 and has the ability to monitor 2.4 million ships every day and orbits the equator. However, the LAPAN-A3 is a polar-orbiting satellite and has therefore a wider area of coverage.
Gunawan said the LAPAN-A3 would orbit at an altitude of 505 kilometers at an inclination of 97.48 degree. It will circle the Earth 14 times a day and traverse Indonesia four times.
He added that the LAPAN-A3 was expected to provide assistance to any government institutions concerned with agricultural and maritime affairs.
“However, we have to ensure that LAPAN-A3 will work optimally out there. We have six months at the maximum to set and test it from here,” Gunawan said.
LAPAN said those tests were needed upon learning that the satellite wobbled when it was launched, a condition that could affect its performance.
LAPAN-A2 only needed two months upon its launch to function properly. Therefore, LAPAN is optimistic that a similar situation will prevail with the new satellite.