Mission typeCommunication
OperatorIndosat Ooredoo
COSPAR ID2009-046A
SATCAT no.35812
Mission duration15 years (planned)
10.5 years (expected)[1]
11 years (achieved)
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerThales Alenia Space[2]
Start of mission
Launch date31 August 2009, 09:28 (2009-08-31UTC09:28Z) UTC
RocketChang Zheng 3B/E
Launch siteXichang LA-2
End of mission
Deactivated31 August 2020 (officially)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Longitude113° East
Perigee altitude35,783 kilometres (22,235 mi)[3]
Apogee altitude35,803 kilometres (22,247 mi)[3]
Inclination0.03 degrees[3]
Period1436.13 minutes[3]
Epoch23 January 2015, 13:40:35 UTC[3]

Palapa-D, also known as Palapa D1, was an Indonesian geostationary communications satellite which was operated by Indosat Ooredoo. It was built by Thales Alenia Space, based on the Spacebus-4000B3 satellite bus, and carries 35 G/H band and 5 J band transponders (US IEEE C and Ku bands respectively). It was positioned in geostationary orbit at a longitude of 113° East, where it will replace the Palapa C2 satellite.[4]

Indosat ordered Palapa-D from Thales Alenia Space in 2007.[5] The satellite was built without using American components, and was therefore not restricted by US International Traffic in Arms Regulations,[6] which allowed the China Great Wall Industry Corporation to be selected as a launch service provider.[7]

On 31 August 2020, Palapa D was officially declared inadequate for operation after almost ran out of fuel for stationkeeping and all of its transponder services were officially moved to Telkom-4/Merah Putih and BRIsat satellites for broadcasting and data services respectively.


A Long March 3B rocket, flying from Launch Area 2 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre was used to launch Palapa-D. A problem with the third stage of its carrier rocket left it in an incorrect orbit,[8] which was subsequently corrected using the spacecraft's onboard propulsion system.

After launch, Palapa-D was to have separated from its carrier rocket into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, however one of its two identical upper-stage engines failed to deliver the necessary thrust,[9][10] resulting in it reaching a lower orbit than planned. The 400 newton apogee motor of the satellite was subsequently used in a non-nominal mode[clarification needed] to raise it into geostationary orbit.[citation needed]

Recovery and operations

On 3 September, the satellite's orbit was adjusted, placing it into a geostationary transfer orbit.[11] It reached geostationary orbit on 9 September.[12] It underwent on-orbit testing, and arrived at its orbital slot of 113° East in mid-September. After completing its testing, it is now being used to provide communications to Asia and Australia.[citation needed]

Palapa-D was built with a design life of fifteen years, but due to the expenditure of fuel during maneuvers to correct its orbit, it is expected to have enough fuel for about ten years of operations, according to Reynald Seznec, President of Thales Alenia Space.[13][14]


Palapa-D was planned to be replaced by Nusantara Dua (Palapa-N1) satellite; the launch of Nusantara Dua on 9 April 2020 by Chinese Long March 3B/E rocket was a failure, resulting in the loss of the satellite. A replacement satellite (Nusantara 2R or Palapa N1R) to be built by the same manufacturer (China Academy of Space Technology) is being considered, albeit with possible different specifications with the lost one.

See also


  1. ^ Thales Alenia Space announced that the Palapa-D communications satellite is now positioned at its final location (113° East) and fully ready for operations for more than 10.5 years, Cannes, 16 November, Thales Alenia Space statement concerning In Orbit Acceptance Review of the Palapa-D satellite Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Thales Alenia Space statement concerning Palapa-D satellite". Thales Alenia Space. 2 September 2009. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e "PALAPA D Satellite details 2009-046A NORAD 35812". N2YO. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Thales Alenia Space To Build Palapa-D Satellite For Indosat". Space Mart. 2 July 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
  5. ^ "China to launch Indonesia's communications satellite". China View. 29 August 2009.
  6. ^ Brown, Peter J. (4 December 2008). "US firms tired of being shut out". Asia Times. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
  7. ^ de Selding, Peter B. (9 July 2007). "PT Indosat Picks Chinese Rocket To Launch Its New Telecom Sat". Retrieved 23 August 2009.[dead link]
  8. ^ Barbosa, Rui C (31 August 2009). "Chang Zheng-3B suffers third stage problem during Palapa-D launch". Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  9. ^ Tong, Xiong (31 August 2009). "Indonesian satellite launched in China fails to enter orbit". Xinhua. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Thales Alenia Space statement concerning orbital positioning of the Palapa-D satellite". Thales Alenia Space. 3 September 2009. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2009.
  12. ^ "Palapa-D communications satellite now in geostationary orbit". Thales Alenia Space. 9 September 2009. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2009.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 September 2009. Retrieved 13 September 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ de Selding, Peter (11 September 2009). "Palapa-D to be Salvaged After Being Launched into Wrong Orbit". Space News. Retrieved 11 September 2009.