Indonesian aeronautics institution explores potential areas for space spot

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, YOGYAKARTA — Indonesia’s National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan) is exploring potential areas in Morotai (North Maluku) and Biak (Papua) for Indonesian space spot, Lapan’s Head Thomas Djamaluddin said here on Thursday. “Morotai and Biak have emerged as candidates for the purpose. Hopefully, we will be able to take a decision this year,” Thomas added.

He explained that a master plan for space spot development will fall under Law Number 12/2013 on Space.

The space spot, according to Thomas, is very important for Indonesia when it comes to pursuing space technology development, and to boost national self-sufficiency in space science and technology. Lapan already has a rocket launching station in Cilautereun village, Garut district, West Java, which functions as a small-scale rocket launching test center.

In addition to supporting the national space development program, the space spot can also be commercialized for global customers as this equatorial region is preferred for satellite or rocket launches.

Morotai and Biak have the potential to be developed as space spots as these two regions have a low population density and face the Pacific Ocean. “Such a strategic location is important as it helps reduce the risk of space objects falling back after the launch in case of any failure,” Thomas explained.

The feasibility of selecting an area to develop a satellite launch pad is still being studied as both Biak and Morotai offer their own advantages and disadvantages regarding infrastructure and population. “It is clear that in next 25 years, Indonesia will have had a satellite launch pad,” Thomas stressed.