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Issue 8
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The Launch of PALAPA (QT, 2.2 MB) video picture

Bahasa Indonesia

Welcome to the Eighth edition of the Online Journal of Space Communication, which highlights the Role of Satellites in Indonesia's National Development.

At a very early stage in the development of space technologies globally, Indonesia realized that the peaceful use of outer space in general and satellite communications in particular could have an important impact on and play a significant role in Indonesia's national development.

Indonesia is the world's largest archipelagic country, with a population of more than 200 million people living in thousands of islands, big and small. Indonesia has faced major challenges in building, maintaining and further developing its infrastructures for the benefit of its people. Satellites have been used as communications infrastructure in meeting such challenges.

This issue of the Online Journal of Space Communication will present the process and events leading to the historical launch of Indonesia's own domestic satellite communications system in 1976, the first developing country in the world to do so. It will also present readers with descriptions, stories and images of subsequent uses of satellites in national development, with relevant analysis of probable future trends and directions in this field.

Services and applications using satellites are almost unlimited in Indonesia, for economic and business purposes as well as for social and cultural needs of the public. It is interesting to note that back in 1976, Perumtel, then a 100% state owned company, was the only satellite operator in Indonesia besides Indosat providing international satellite services through the Intelsat system. Whereas today, as a result of Indonesian telecommunications reform, there are two additional satellite operators and numerous VSAT operators licensed in the country.

Similarly, in the media field, in the late 1970's there existed only the state owned broadcasting companies to make use of the satellite transponders, while nowadays all 10 private Indonesian television broadcasting companies are users of the available domestic transponder capacity, and DTH broadcasting by satellite has been introduced by the private sector.

Besides providing support for terrestrial communications, satellite applications such as remote sensing, meteorological and other applications are now part of the nation's way of life. Despite economic and financial problems, our country continues to do research and development in space technology. The agency responsible for this, LAPAN, is conducting several programs of this type, including the development of a micro satellite for Indonesia.

The contributors to this issue of the Online Journal of Space Communication are all satellite scholars and professionals, and I am delighted to note that a number of them are relatively young. It is to be hoped that they will be among the prominent figures in the Indonesian satellite scene in the not too distant future.

When developing the materials for the Journal, I received valuable suggestions and comments from a small Jakarta based 'team' consisting of Prof. Dr. Alwi Dahlan, a well known sociologist, Mr. Tulus Rahardjo, MSc, Deputy Director General at the Directorate General of Post & Telecommunications, and Mr. Widodo, PT. Indosat. The editing team in Ohio, U.S.A. was led by Mr. Putut Widjanarko, now in the final stages of his Ph.D. study at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. Although our wish was to present a comprehensive collection of articles in line with the theme of this issue, contributions received so far may not be able to achieve this goal perfectly. However, these are a good sampling representing the many roles satellites are playing in Indonesia's national development and what can be expected in the future.

Ir. Sukarno Abdulrachman
Masyarakat Telematika Indonesia (MASTEL)
Jl. Terusan Hang Lekir I / No. 25
Jakarta 12220
Tel: +62 21 7221016, +62 21 72801319
Fax: +62 21 7267931
Email: or Web:


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