(Asia Pulse Businesswire via NewsEdge) Some 30 years after buying its first satellite, the Palapa A-I, which was mainly a product of foreign technology, Indonesia will finally launch a locally made micro-satellite in the second or third week of October.
Dr. Adi Sadewo, National Aviation and Outer Space Agency (LAPAN) chief, made the announcement after a working meeting with the Research and Technology Minister, top officials of non-departmental government agencies and members of the House of Representatives Commission VII.
Adi said the construction of the micro-satellite was a real step forward in Indonesia's history, especially in its satellite technology development efforts.
"This satellite will carry with it a video camera directly controlled from the ground and it will provide real-time results, whereas the satellite technology installed so far only allows the satellite to function as an imager, the results of which can be seen only after one or two weeks," he said.
The German-designed micro-satellite had been taken to ISRO in India to be launched together with India's Carthosat-2 satellite.
When in orbit, Adi said the LAPAN-made satellite could be used to monitor natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and forest fires.
Weighing only about 57kg, the micro-satellite is much lighter than the 400kg US-made Palapa satellite.
LAPAN also spent only 10 billion rupiahs ($1.1 million) in the construction of the micro-satellite, as compared with hundreds of billions of rupiahs for the Palapa satellite.
Adi said the second-stage satellite that Indonesia would launch in the future would serve as a long-distance censor with practical uses, one of which was support for national food resilience programs.
"At present, we are at the stage of analysis and hopefully the manufacturing of the second-stage satellite can be completed in 2009 or 2010," he said.
Â© 2006 Asia Pulse Pte Ltd
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