SpaceX successfully launches Indonesia’s latest communications satellite, ‘Merah Putih 2’, into orbit

SpaceX has successfully launched Indonesia’s latest communications satellite, ‘Telkomsat HTS 113BT’ (Merah Putih 2), into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.

The ‘Merah Putih 2’ lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on February 20, 2024, at 20:11 UTC (13:11 EST), The mission marks a significant milestone for both nations.

The Falcon 9 soared skyward despite challenging wind conditions, marking the 17th flight for its veteran first-stage booster. The rocket previously supported critical missions like Crew-3, Crew-4, and cargo deliveries to the International Space Station. Notably, it launched another Indonesian satellite, PSN Satria, in June 2023.

Following a successful flight, the booster performed a dazzling landing on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, marking the 72nd landing on this platform and SpaceX’s 276th booster landing overall. This impressive feat further underscores the company’s commitment to reusability.

Riding high on the Falcon 9’s second stage, the ‘Merah Putih 2’ satellite separated smoothly after 34 minutes. Built by Thales Alenia Space, this powerful satellite boasts a capacity of over 32 Gbps, aiming to bridge the digital divide and enhance connectivity across Indonesia. Weighing 4 metric tons, it will operate in a geosynchronous orbit for the next 15 years, delivering vital communication services.

The launch marks the second collaboration between SpaceX and Telkomsat, the Indonesian state-owned satellite operator. In 2018, SpaceX successfully launched Telkom-4 (later renamed Merah Putih) aboard a Falcon 9, marking the first preflight of a Block 5 booster.

“We’re thrilled to support Telkomsat’s vision of a more connected Indonesia,” said a SpaceX spokesperson. “This mission showcases our commitment to providing reliable and efficient launch solutions for all.”

With 16 successful launches already under its belt in 2024, SpaceX continues to demonstrate its leadership in the commercial space industry.

The successful deployment of Merah Putih 2 promises to bring significant advancements in communication infrastructure for millions of Indonesians, highlighting the transformative power of space technology.

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