Indonesia’s space agency LAPAN will cooperate with the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Nusa Cendana University (UNdana), East Nusa Tenggara Provincial Government (NTT), and Kupang Regency to build a modern space observation facility, National Observatory (Obnas).
The largest such observatory in South-East Asia – with a 3.8m telescope – will be built on Mount Timau in Kupang, which is the biggest city on the island of Timor. The development is targeted to be completed by 2020.
Development of Obnas is important for Indonesia, according to LAPAN, for because of its dual role: to build Indonesian space science up to a high degree, and to “strengthen the regions and villages” and allow for equitable distribution of inter-regional development, especially in Eastern Indonesia. The aim is thus to advance research while creating a positive impact on the local communities.
The area around Obnas will also be developed as a National Park, with the aim of attracting tourists.
During LAPAN’s national seminar on space activities on the 25th of October, Head of LAPAN, Prof. Dr. Thomas Djamaluddin, said that the building of Obnas is one of LAPAN’s key strategic objectives, along with mastery of rocket technology, building a launch site, growing its National Remote Sensing Data Bank (BDPJN) and National Earth Monitoring System (SPBN), and overall technological development.