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LAPAN-A3 / IPB microsatellite / LISat of Indonesia

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LAPAN-A3/IPB, also referred to as LISat, is a cooperative remote sensing microsatellite project between LAPAN (National Institute of Aeronautics and Space of Indonesia) Jakarta and IPB (Bogor Agricultural University or Institute Pertanian Bogor) located in Bogar, Indonesia. The objective of the demonstration mission is to monitor food resources in Indonesia and to provide environmental monitoring. The real goal of LAPAN-A3/IPB is to provide actual, frequent and accurate data for observing and predicting the condition of the Indonesian archipelago. The Republic of Indonesia with an estimated population of 258 million is the largest archipelago (island country) in the world with more than 17,500 islands, 2/3 of the country's terretory is covered by the sea and 1/3 of the country is land mostly covered by forest and agriculture. — In this cooperative project, LAPAN is responsible for the design and development of the microsatellite, while IPB is in charge for algorithm and dataset application development. 1) 2)


Figure 1: Overview of LAPAN's satellite development program (image credit: LAPAN)




LAPAN-A3/IPB is a microsatellite for experimental remote sensing and maritime traffic monitoring. 3) 4)

1) LAPAN-A3/IPB was developed based on the LAPAN-A2/ORARI satellite bus with several enhancements to accommodate the linear imager payload.

2) The satellite mission is to identify land cover and land use and to monitor environmental degradation.

3) To perform such a mission, LAPAN-A3/IPB carries a medium resolution multispectral (4-band) imager and a digital camera

4) As the satellite of a maritime country, LAPAN-A3/IPB also supports global maritime traffic monitoring by receiving the AIS signals of ships in the ground segment.

Spacecraft dimensions

50 cm x 57.4 cm x 42.4 cm

Spacecraft mass

~ 115 kg

EPS (Electric Power Subsystem)

- 5 GaAs solar arrays @ 46.5 cm x 26.2 cm, 30 cells in series; max power of 37 (BOL)
- 3 packs of Li-ion batteries, 4 cells per pack, 15 V nominal voltage, 6.1 Ah capacity

OBDH (On-Board Data Handling) Subsystem

- The OBC is a 32 bit RISC processor with 128/256 MB internal memory, 1 MB external static RAM, and 1 MB external flash memory

ADCS (Attitude Determination and Control Subsystem)

- 3 wheels/fiber optic laser gyros in orthogonal configuration
- 2 Star sensors (1 CCD and 1 CMOS)
- 3 magnetic coils
- 6 single solar cells for sun sensors
- 3-axis magnetometers

RF Communications

- 2 UHF TT&Cs, frequency = 437.425 MHz, modulation = FFSK, 3.5 W RF output power
- X-band, frequency = 8200 MHz, data rate = 105 Mbit/s, 6 W max RF output power
- S-band, frequency = 2220 MHz, 3.5 W max RF output power

- HDRM (High Data Rate Modem) for simulation experiments

Table 1: Technical specifications of the LAPAN-A3/IPB microsatellite


Figure 2: Two views of the LAPAN-A3/IPB microsatellite (image credit: LAPAN)


Figure 3: Illustration of the data handling concept (image credit: LAPAN)


Launch: LAPAN-A3/IPB was launched on June 22, 2016 (03:56 UTC) as a secondary payload to ISRO's CartoSat-2C spacecraft. The launch site was SDSC (Satish Dhawan Space Center) in India and the launch vehicle is PSLV-C34. 5)

The secondary payloads (19) on this flight were:

• SkySat-3, the first operational satellite (120 kg) in Terra Bella's constellation of 21 Earth observation satellites.

• BIROS (Bi-spectral InfraRed Optical System), a 130 kg minisatellite of DLR. The BIROS satellite is part of DLR's FireBird constellation, which consists of two spacecraft, TET-1 and BIROS.

- BIROS carries onboard the picosatellite BEESAT-4 (Berlin Experimental and Educational Satellite-4) of TU Berlin(1U CubeSat, 1 kg) and release it through a spring mechanism [ejection by SPL (Single Picosatellite Launcher ) after the successful check-out and commissioning of all relevant BIROS subsystems]. After separation, it will perform experimental proximity maneuvers in formation with the picosatellite solely based on optical navigation.

• M3MSat (Maritime Monitoring and Messaging Microsatellite), a Canadian technology demonstration microsatellite (85 kg) joint mission funded by DND (Department of National Defence) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency), exactEarth and COM DEV Ltd. M3MSat carries two advanced AIS (Automatic Identification System) payloads to monitor maritime shipping.

• LAPAN-A3 (Lembaga Penerbangan dan Antariksa Nasional-A3), an Earth observation microsatellite (115 kg) developed in Indonesia.

• GHGSat-D (Greenhouse Gas Satellite – Demonstrator), a 15 kg commercial venture of GHGSat Inc. of Montreal, Canada, a subsidiary of Xiphos Systems Corporation. GHGSat-D was built at UTIAS/SFL. GHGSat's mission is to become the global reference for remote sensing of greenhouse gas (GHG) and air quality gas (AQG) emissions from industrial sites, using satellite technology.

• SathyabamaSat, a 2U CubeSat of Sathyabama University (1.5 kg), India. The satellite will measure the densities of the greenhouse gases over the region over which it moves, using an ARGUS 1000 IR Spectrometer.

• Swayam, a 1U CubeSat of the College of Engineering (1 kg), Pune, India.

• 12 Flock-2p Earth observation satellites (3U CubeSats) of Planet Labs (each with a mass of 4.7 kg), San Francisco, CA.


Orbit: Sun-synchronous circular orbit, altitude = 515 km, inclination = 97.5º, local time on descending node (LTDN) = 9:30 hours.

The the LAPAN-A3/IPB mission, this polar sun-synchronous orbit will make about two times contact per day (day and night) of about 11 minutes average. In this limited contact scenario, much of data will be downlinked in near real time to the ground station through - band communication link that contain the information of data imagery and shipping monitoring data as well.

Indonesia is located approximately between 94º45' E and 141º 65' E, equivalent to ~ 5,150 km along the length of the equator (1/8 of the Earth circumference), with the widest breadth between 6º 8' N and 11º 15' S (~ 2000 km). It is an archipelago positioned between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and between the Asian and Australian continents. However, the need for space utilization in Indonesia is significant to be able to address solutions to the Indonesian people. The remote sensing data are needed for such applications as agriculture, forestry, fishing, etc.


Figure 4: Presentation of LAPAN-A2/ORARI (blue, near equatorial) and LAPAN-A3/IPB satellites (sun-synchronous) orbital coverage for countries like Indonesia (image credit: LAPAN)



Mission status:

• The LAPAN-A2 spacecraft and its payload are fully operational in February 2016. 6)


Figure 5: LAPAN-A3 image of the Jember regency of the East Java province, acquired with MSI on 19 October 2016 (image credit: LAPAN)

• In October 2016, the LAPAN-A3 mission became operational after completing all in-orbit tests.



Sensor complement: (MSI, DSC, AIS)

Payload data handling: Source data up to 200 Mbit/s; 16 Gbit storage capacity; image frame's attitude and time tagging; CCSDS data packets.


MSI (Multispectral Imager)

MSI is a pushbroom 4-band imager for land use classification and environmental observations with the following features and capabilities:

- 300 mm lens

- 8002 x 4 pixel array

- 12 bit digitization

- Landsat filter for the bands: 0.45-0.52 µm (blue); 0.52-0.60 µm (green): 0.63-0.69 µm (red); 0.76-0.90 µm (NIR)

- Ground resolution = 19 m

- Swath width = 100 km


DSC (Digital Space Camera)

- A CCD imager with a 1000 mm lens

- 2000 x 2000 pixel array

- Ground resolution of 5 m

- Swath width = 10 km


AIS (Automatic Identification System) Receiver

The AIS instrument assembly is designed and developed at KSX (Kongsberg Seatex AS, Trondheim, Norway) supporting global maritime awareness by the reception of AIS signals from ships. The instrumentation is similar to the one flown on AISSAT-1 (launch on July 12, 2010). The AIS instrument features are:

• Simultaneous reception and decoding of any two channels in the maritime VHF band

• SDR‐based radio architecture – upgradeable after launch

• High sensitivity

• Low power consumption

• Industrial grade components used giving a cost‐efficient AIS payload

• RS422 interface.

- Sensitivity of 117 dBm

- Estimated footprint radius of 2800 km

- Max number of ships to be tracked: 104/min.



Ground segment:

LAPAN operates a network of ground stations to operate microsatellites (LAPAN-TUBSAT, LAPAN-A2 and LAPAN-A3/IPB). The network consists of ground station in Rumpin and Rancabungur (Bogor), Bukittinggi (West Sumatra), Pontianak (West Borneo)and Biak (Papua). Within the network, Rumpin is the main control station. In addition, as a research ground station, Rancabungur functions as backup for Rumpin, to ensure the reliability of Western Indonesia coverage. A LAPAN-built receiving antenna is installed in Bukittinggi, to cover the far Northwest of Indonesia such as the Aceh province. Another LAPAN-built receiving antenna is installed in Pontianak and Biak, to cover the satellite operation in the Central and Eastern part of Indonesia. In the future, another station will be established in Pare-pare, Celebes, to provide a better coverage of the central part of Indonesia.


Figure 6: Ground station network of LAPAN-TUBSAT, LAPAN-A2 and LAPAN-A3 (image credit: LAPAN)


1) "LAPAN-IPB LISat satellite will be launched in the mid of 2016," April 2016, URL:

2) Chusnul Tri Judianto, Eriko Nasemudin Nasser, "The analysis of LAPAN-A3/IPB satellite image data simulation using High Data Rate Modem," Elsevier, Procedia Environmental Sciences, Vol. 24, April 3, 2015, , pp: 285 – 296, URL:

3) Information provided by Robertus Heru Triharjanto of LAPAN.

4) HasbiWahyudi, Suhermanto, "Development of LAPAN-A3/IPB satellite - an experimental remote sensing microsatellite," Proceedings of 34th ACRS (Asian Conference on Remote Sensing), Bali, Indonesia,October 20-24, 2013

5) "PSLV-C34 Successfully Launches 20 Satellites in a Single Flight," ISRO, June 22, 2016, URL:

6) Information provided by Robertus Heru Triharjanto of LAPAN.

The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: "Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors" (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates (

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