Indonesia Chooses Papua To Build Country’s First Spaceport
Nov 12, 2019

Indonesia plans to build its first spaceport in Biak, Papua, with the purpose of launching test rockets, the country’s National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) has confirmed.

“We will build [the spaceport] just like LAPAN’s rocket launch site we have in South Garut [West Java]. However, it will be bigger so that it can be used for larger rocket test launches,” LAPAN flight and aerospace study center head Robertus Heru Trijahyanto told the Jakarta Post.

Biak is a small island located off the northern coast of West Papua province. It was chosen as the location to build the new spaceport because the area was deemed ideal to support LAPAN’s plan to do a larger rocket test launch in 2024, Trijahyanto said.

The island won over two other candidates, namely Morotai Island in North Maluku and Enggano Island in Bengkulu. LAPAN already prepared 100 hectares of land in North Biak in the 1980s. Biak is considered ideal because it is close to the equator and its eastern coast faces the Pacific Ocean.

LAPAN plans to test launch a rocket that could go up to 300 km above Earth, for which a larger spaceport is needed.

The planned new spaceport, whose first phase is expected to be finished by 2024, would help Indonesia master the technology and operation for its own satellite launches. It will be constructed with the help of international partnerships, including from Russia.