SpaceX launches SATRIA-1 communications satellite for Indonesia, lands rocket at sea (video)

SpaceX launched a new Indonesian communications satellite into orbit from Florida on Sunday (June 18) and capped the flight with a flawless rocket landing at sea. 

A Falcon 9 rocket topped with the SATRIA-1 telecommunications satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, soaring into the early evening sky at 6:21 p.m. EDT (2221 GMT) after a 15-minute delay due to high winds.

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches a batch of the company's Starlink broadband satellites on March 3, 2023. (Image credit: SpaceX)

Shortly after liftoff, the Falcon 9's first stage booster returned to Earth for a vertical touchdown on the SpaceX droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas, which was be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast. 

The touchdown, which took place 8.5 minutes after liftoff, marked the 12th launch and landing for this particular booster, according to a SpaceX mission description. Among those previous efforts were four Dragon missions to the International Space Station for NASA, two of them crewed and two of them robotic resupply flights.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket first stage makes a smooth landing, its 12th flight, after launching the SATRIA-1 communications satellite into orbit on June 18, 2023. (Image credit: SpaceX)

The Falcon 9's upper stage, meanwhile, continued carrying SATRIA-1 to geosynchronous transfer orbit, ultimately deploying the satellite there just under 37 minutes after liftoff.

Indonesia's SATRIA-1 satellite drifts away from SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket upper stage after a success launch into orbit. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SATRIA-1 (whose name is short for "Satellite of the Republic of Indonesia") will be operated for the Indonesian government by the Indonesian company PSN.

The $550 million spacecraft "is envisioned to boost connectivity inclusion in the country, providing free internet connection to 150,000 public facilities, including schools, regional government offices and health facilities," according to The Jakarta Post.

"SATRIA-1 will have a throughput capacity of 150 billion bits per second, three times the capacity of the nine telecommunication satellites that Indonesia currently uses," the outlet added.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.

  • MicchaelL65
    No matter how many times I watch a rocket launch, it never gets old! I was just 8 years old when my family emigrated to Canada from the UK in 1973. The Apollo Program had just wrapped up its Lunar Exploration phase. I was so excited to be moving to Canada (near Vancouver) because I was sure that I would be able to see rockets launching from the Cape from my house! As an 8 year old boy, I had no real concept of distance. FYI, I live 3,300 miles from the Cape! No chance of ever seeing a rocket go up from my home!