APSN Banner

Luhut offers Biak as future launch site for Musk's SpaceX

Jakarta Post - May 20, 2024

Jakarta – Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said on Sunday that he had made an offer to Elon Musk for SpaceX to launch its rockets from Biak, Papua, where the government plans to build the country's first space station.

The senior minister said he was tasked with greeting the tech billionaire and SpaceX CEO when he landed in Bali on Sunday morning to launch the local network of Starlink, a SpaceX subsidiary specializing in delivering internet access to remote regions.

While traveling together from I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport to the event venue, Luhut said Musk explained about SpaceX's rockets and Starship, the launch vehicle designed to send manned missions into space.

Luhut also asked Musk about his plan to launch rockets to Mars.

"He said, 'I'm still serious,'" the senior minister recounted to reporters on Sunday. "I said to him, 'Biak is suitable [as a launch site] because it's on the equator, so the cost will be cheaper.'"

Aiming to become the world's manufacturing hub for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, the government has been courting Musk and his EV company Tesla to invest in Indonesia as part of its supply chain. But no announcements have been made in relation to Musk's potential investment to build the country's EV sector.

"I think in the long term, it's likely that we will invest in Indonesia," Musk said, following the launch of Starlink services at the Puskesmas (community health center) in Denpasar.

The satellite internet service was launched on Sunday at three Puskesmas: two in Bali and one on the remote island of Aru in Maluku province.

The government is planning to build the country's first spaceport in Biak, modeled after the United States' Cape Canaveral space station in Florida, according to the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN).

Construction has not begun on the Biak spaceport due to public resistance over fears the project will damage the local environment.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/business/2024/05/20/luhut-offers-biak-as-future-launch-site-for-musks-spacex.htm