American inventor and technology mogul Elon Musk has agreed to explore investment opportunities in the electric car battery and space launch station in Indonesia following a talk with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan over the telephone on Friday.
Musk, the founder and chief executive officer of electric car company Tesla and aerospace company SpaceX, said over the telephone that he would send a team to Indonesia next month to look into details about the investment opportunities.
The discussion between Musk, Jokowi, and Luhut followed up on Luhut's visit to the United States last month. Jokowi has been adamant about leveraging Indonesia's nickel reserve — the largest in the world — to launch an integrated supply chain for electric car batteries and the electric car industry in the country. Nickel was the main component for making a high-performance lithium-ion battery.
Musk's SpaceX reported a successful flight test for its Starship heavy rocket on Wednesday. The rocket managed to reach 12.5-kilometer altitude before decelerating to the Boca Chica launch station in South Texas and was destroyed upon landing. The company said it managed to collect all the flight data needed to develop further the rocket for carrying a human-crewed expedition to Mars by 2027.
Indonesia has several space launch stations plan in the pipeline. The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (Lapan) announced last year that it moved forward to build a spaceport in Biak, Papua. Lapan and the Russian Federal Space Agency (RKA) first worked on the Biak station plan in 2006 to develop it as a commercial launch site.
Biak sits almost exactly on the equator, which helped any rocket launched from the site to gain greater initial velocity, allowing it to carry heavier payloads. SpaceX has prior experience working with Indonesia. In 2018, the company launched Telkom Indonesia's Merah Putih satellite into orbit, using its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
(source: The Jakarta Globe)