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Live coverage: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to launch Indonesian satellite from Cape Canaveral


Staff member
Dec 13, 2023
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A rendering of Telkomsat’s Merah Putih 2 satellite. Graphic: Thales Alenia Space

Indonesia aims to increase broadband internet access across its country through the launch of its latest communications satellite aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The Telkomsat HTS 113BT satellite, also referred to as Merah Putih 2, is set to launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 3:11 p.m. EST (2011 UTC).

There is a two-hour window during which the launch can take place on Tuesday. If needed, there is also a four-hour backup window on Wednesday that opens at 12:53 p.m. EST (1753 UTC).

Spaceflight Now will have live coverage starting about one hour prior to liftoff.

The Falcon 9 first stage booster being used on this mission, tail number B1067, will be making its 17th flight. Its previous launches included Crew-3, Crew-4 and a pair of Cargo Dragon spacecraft missions to the International Space Station. It also launched PSN Satria, another Indonesian communications satellite, in June 2023.

About 8.5 minutes following liftoff, B1067 will land on the SpaceX droneship, ‘Just Read the Instructions.’ This will be the first outing for JRTI since B1058 toppled over while returning to Port Canaveral in Florida in December.

If successful, Tuesday’s mission will mark the 72nd landing on JRTI and the 276th overall booster landing. This will also be SpaceX’s 16th launch in 2024.

Expanding internet access​

The satellite poised to launch on Tuesday was built by Thales Alenia Space based on its Spacebus 4000B2 platform. The company said the Merah Putih 2 satellite “will provide more than 32 Gbps capacity over Indonesia.”

It weighs about four metric tons and will operate at an orbital position of 113° East for 15 years. According to the publication Telecom Review, the contracted work was valued at 3.8 trillion INR ($242.8 million).

“It’s very fulfilling to be able to support our customer’s business development after Telkom 3S. HTS 113BT is the fourth telecom program to serve the Indonesian satellite operators confirming that Thales Alenia Space is able to match its customers’ needs by offering a wide telecom satellites product range,” said Hervé Derrey, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space in a 2021 statement.

The Merah Putih 2, which translates to “red and white” in Indonesian, will be the second satellite that SpaceX will launch on behalf of Telkomsat. The first was the Merah Putih, which was formerly known as Telkom-4, which launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on Aug. 7, 2018, from the Cape.

That mission also marked the first preflight of a Falcon 9 Block 5 booster.

Merah Putih 2 will be launched to a geosynchronous transfer orbit roughly 33 minutes after liftoff.

Indonesian #telecommunications satellite Telkomsat HTS 113BT left the port of Nice on January 9 and is heading to Florida's Port Canaveral by sea. Check-out these stunning images of the #satellite being loaded inside its container in our clean rooms of Cannes end of last year. pic.twitter.com/jTy9Ksjazz

— Thales Alenia Space (@Thales_Alenia_S) January 11, 2024
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