Indonesia successfully launches two sounding rockets

Image courtesy of LAPAN.

Indonesia’s space agency LAPAN has successfully conducted two test flights of two of its sounding rockets, the RX 450 and RX 1220. The launches took place last week at the Space and Atmospheric Observation & Technology Testing Center at Garut, West Java.

This was not the first flight of the RX 450, which was launched in 2015 and 2016. This latest launch saw slight modifications to the RX 450, Indonesia’s largest rocket, although LAPAN did not disclose the exact details of the modification. It is likely, that the RX 450 remains approximately 6.1 meters in length, with a diameter of 450 mm and a thrust of 126 kN, with Hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) as its propellant. LAPAN hopes that the RX 450 will eventually become one of the stages in a multi-stage orbital rocket.

The RX 1220 is a sounding rocket based on the R-HAN122 B, a multiple launch rocket system that is now part of the Indonesian military arsenal. LAPAN, however, has emphasized that both the RX 450 and RX 1220 will be used strictly for peaceful purposes.

LAPAN says that it plans to launch the RX 320 in 2018; the RX 320, which was first tested in 2008, will now fitted with a stage separation system. In 2019, LAPAN plans to conduct a static fire test of its RX 550, its largest rocket yet, with a thrust of 255 kN.

LAPAN’s sounding rocket programme, which these tests are a part of, is aimed towards the development of an indigenous Indonesian orbital launch vehicle, and will be carried out in conjunction with the construction of an orbital launch site.

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