Hot on the heels of revealing that it is extending its mission to add life to existing craft so it can deliver uninterrupted services to its customers, integrated satellite and terrestrial network and inflight connectivity (IFC) provider Intelsat has inked a deal with Indonesian information and communications technology company Lintasarta to roll out a network to cover remote areas in Indonesia.
Setting out the importance and difficulty of the project, the firms pointed out that Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago, home to the world’s fourth-largest population. Furthermore, its citizens are widely dispersed across 6,000 inhabited islands, residing in more than 500 districts and 80,000 villages.
After working with Lintasarta’s mobile network operator subsidiary, Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison (IOH), Intelsat revealed that nearly 400 sites across central and western Indonesia, including Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Nusa Tenggara, have now received broadband connectivity with its help, using cellular backhaul. This is the first time a mobile operator has covered these areas.
“Indonesia’s unique array of topography makes satellite the best option for service. Pairing Intelsat satellites in a hybrid network solution proves to be the best real-world solution to provide country-wide coverage for different population densities,” said Gaurav Kharod, regional vice-president of Intelsat Asia-Pacific. “Intelsat understands Lintasarta’s specific requirements and can craft a niche advantage to maximise existing hardware platforms to effectively provide the connectivity needed.”
Lintasarta marketing and solution director Zulfi Hadi added: “Intelsat has been and continues to be our trusted partner. The partnership has always allowed us to quickly deploy and expand network coverage wherever it’s needed in Indonesia. Tens of thousands of households will receive first-ever connectivity and benefit from digital connectivity.”
As the Indonesian roll-out was announced, Intelsat was ordering its second Mission Extension Pod (MEP) from Northrop Grumman Corporation’s SpaceLogistics, which will add life to an Intelsat satellite. The new contract represents the fourth deal with SpaceLogistics, following an order for a single MEP in April 2023 and two Mission Extension Vehicles (MEVs) already in service with Intelsat satellites.
The MEP “jet pack” will be installed by SpaceLogistics’ mission robotic vehicle (MRV) on an unidentified Intelsat satellite operating in geosynchronous orbit, ensuring continuity of satellite service for at least six years beginning as early as 2026. Both MEP and MRV have completed critical design reviews, are in assembly and testing, and are proceeding towards launch.
SpaceLogistics is seen as a vital aspect of Intelsat’s drive for space sustainability programme, first instituted in 2020 when SpaceLogistics’ Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1) performed the first-ever in-orbit commercial spacecraft docking with the Intelsat 901 (IS-901) craft. That extended the life of IS-901 for another five years.
In 2021, a second Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-2) began providing similar life-extension services for Intelsat 10-02. The new purchase is Intelsat’s second in 2023.
“We continue to look for ways to provide the best services to our customers as well as remain good stewards of the space environment. This commitment continues to build our unique self-insurance capabilities in space and is another step towards unlocking the potential of future in-orbit service applications,” said Intelsat chief technology officer Bruno Fromont.
SpaceLogistics president Rob Hauge commented: “With the sale to Intelsat of a second MEP, we continue to build on our long-standing relationship that includes over five years of in-space servicing provided by our two Mission Extension Vehicles.”
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