National Space Day in Indonesia Date in the current year: August 6, 2024

National Space Day in Indonesia National Space Day (Hari Keantariksaan Nasional) is celebrated in Indonesia annually on August 6. It commemorates the promulgation of the Space Act of 2013 that outlines the national space policy of Indonesia.

The history of space exploration in Indonesia dates back to 1962, when former prime minister Djuanda established the Aeronautics Committee. Several months later, the Indonesian Air Force teamed up with the Bandung Institute of Technology to launch the Initial Scientific and Military Rocket Project (PRIMA) that started the development of Kartika sounding rockets.

After the launch of these two informal space projects, President Sukarno established the National Institution of Aeronautics and Space (Lembaga Penerbangan dan Antariksa Nasional, LAPAN) on November 27, 1963. It became the first government space agency in Indonesia. LAPAN joined the PRIMA project, and on August 14, 1964 Indonesia became the third Asian country after Japan and Pakistan to launch a sounding rocket.

For more than 50 years of its existence LAPAN managed Indonesian satellites (LAPAN and Palapa), developed and launched sounding rockets, worked on small orbital launch vehicles, managed satellite ground stations, the Staspro rocket launch site and the Koto Tabang Equator Atmospheric Radar facility, and conducted space research.

On August 6, 2013, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed the National Space Law, also known as the Indonesian Space Act. The law outlined the national space policy of Indonesia, including the primary aims and purposes of space activities:

  • To improve the country’s self-sufficiency and competitiveness in the area of space exploration.
  • To ensure that space activities are beneficial for national defense and security.
  • To ensure the sustainability of space activities.
  • To use space in a way that benefits the country’s population.

In 2021, President Joko Widodo ordered the disbandment of LAPAN and a number of other government research agencies. These former agencies merged into the newly formed National Research Innovation Agency (BRIN) under the President of Indonesia. LAPAN was transformed into the Research Organization for Aeronautics and Space (ORPA), and for a few months Indonesia technically didn’t have a functioning government space agency, only a space research organization.

Indonesian Space Agency (INASA) within BRIN was founded on March 1, 2022. INASA is tasked with developing and implementing space policies, cooperating with other national space agencies and international space bodies, and carrying out other administrative and political functions functions, whereas the ORPA is responsible for space research and exploration.

National Space Day is observed in Indonesia every August 6 to raise awareness of the importance of space research and exploration, thank all INASA and ORPA employees for their hard work and dedication, and encourage Indonesians to learn more about space. Schools, universities and planetariums across the country usually organize astronomy-related activities for the general public on the occasion of National Space Day.

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