Thursday, December 15, 2005

Indonesia Seeks Space Launch Center

Following the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia, nations in the surrounding areas, indeed any place with an ocean coastline, began to think they needed an early warning system. The best way for them to do that is to watch the Earth from above.
Small satellites can provided communications, weather data and real-time information that can save lives, all for a reasonable price. Whoever can provide the fastest means for making that happen stands to make a tidy sum of money, to boot.

Indonesia has long touted the benefits of its many isolated, sparsely populated tropical islands as potential space launch sites. The area is home to a small floating launch facility but now the country has serious interest in building something on land. Surprise! Russia's Air Launch Aerospace Corp. intends to spend about $120 million to build for them a small satellite launch center on the tiny island of Biak, in West Papua.
The Russians make no secret of their belief the space launch industry is about to explode in growth, with more than 100 commercial launches of small satellites expected for the next dozen years, at least.
Some have said the market is already too competitive for Indonesia to break in, but they are undaunted. Their National Institute of Aeronautics and Space also believe the market has barely begun and is pushing ahead with plans for a satellite program of its own.

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