Jayapura, Jubi – Biak Numfor has been considered as a location for the first space airport in Indonesia.
The plan of the construction of the launched rockets and satellite for civil purposes is currently under a feasibly study conducted by the National Aerospace Institute (LAPAN).
According to the Law 21/2013 on the aerospace, LAPAN was mandated to build the National Space Airport in the territory of the Republic of Indonesia, explained Husni Nasution, team member of LAPAN Space Airport Assessment to Jubi on Thursday (25/8/2016).
“We have a mandate to build the Space Airport in the Republic of Indonesia. Then it was elaborated in the Master Plan, but it is still in the assessment phase. We are currently assessing Morotai, Enggano and Biak. But Enggano certainly not qualify geographically,” said Husni by phone.
According to him, Biak was selected because besides it is strategic and geographically fit for a space airport; it is because LAPAN already has a location in the island.
“Because we stand in the equator area, we certainly find the best location, because the airport should be at the equator area with the position of 0 degree,” said Husni.
Earlier the senior researcher of LIPI, Adriana Elizabeth, who asked for advise by LAPAN related to this plan, said LAPAN tends to vote Biak as the construction site.
“The choice was actually between Morotai and Biak. But the more strategic and heading to the ocean, as well as some other geographical considerations, the choice tends to be Biak,” she said during the break of Papua Lawyer Club in Jayapura some times ago.
Based on the information from LAPAN, she said 100 hectares have been set up by LAPAN for the future airport. But Husni admitted the set up location in Biak is too small and would not qualified referring to the law, “furthermore the people settlement is very crowded,” he said.
Meanwhile Adriana worried about the plan, furthermore it has not communicated to the local people. “There is an issue should be communicated first with the customary people. Because the investment often conflicts with the people. I think it should be considered. I have suggested LAPAn to meet the Customary Council Chief to talk about the government’s plan to build the space airport.”
But, represented the feasible study team, Husni stated the team would involved many related stakeholders including the university, community and local government.
“This is still a stage of study, it’s still for internal, but later it must involve the universities, community, local government and so on,” he said.
The project that would take huge investment certainly could not be executed by LAPAN only. According to Thomas Djamaluddin, the Head of National Aerospace Institute (LAPAN) cited merdeka.com (9/8) it required the huge investment and should have partnership with other country.
Related to the partnership, Adriana Elizabeth said about the investor that already interested with the project. “The investor who interested to execute the project is coming from the People’s Republic of Tiongkok, but instead of 100 hectares, Tiongkok might ask for up to 700 hectares.”
She worried though in term of State’s security it is important, but it has potential to become a conflict in term of local interest.
“If it’s true the investment would come from Tiongkok, we already knew about the rivalry between Tiongkok and the United States. When the technology development is implemented in the Indonesian territory, what is the position of Indonesia related with this rivalry? Moreover it was built in Papua. So it would raise so many correlation of issues,” she said.
When confirmed about the potential investors, Husni said LAPAN has not obtained it yet. “So far there is no hint about investment, but certainly we cannot work alone,” he said.
According to LAPAN, there are only two space airports on the world that have a strategic location, namely Guyana Space Airport at Kouruo, French and Alkantara Space Airport, Brazil. “Indonesia will become the third country to have the space airport that able to launch satellite from the equator. It will be the added value for the country,” said Thomas. (*/rom)