15 Feb 2006

Russia to launch space rockets from Indonesian province of Papua

2:11 pm on 15 February 2006

Russia is to build a launchpad for space rockets in the Indonesian province of Papua.

Senior officials have signed a bilateral agreement allowing Russia to use Biak Island as a blast-off site for satellites.

The joint venture will spend about 25 million US dollars to build the ground base on 27 hectares of land from next year.

Biak Island is 3-thousand 2-hundred kilometres northeast of the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

Rockets that launch from near the equator save on fuel because that's where the earth's surface moves fastest through space.

Last year the international joint venture Sea Launch began launching satellites from a floating platform in Kiribati... it's set to launch a telecoms satellite from there tomorrow afternoon.