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The people of the island proposed to SpaceX to build a rocket base – we don’t want Elon Musk here.

The islanders were outraged after Indonesian leader Joko Widodo offered Elon Musk Biak Island as a SpaceX rocket base. The inhabitants of the region affirmed that the forests of the island will disappear, the ocean will be polluted and they will be their homes, and that they will not receive the multimillionaire entrepreneurs of the region. However, the Indonesian government has announced that it wants to open up the region with rich copper and nickel deposits to Musk’s other company, Tesla, at the same time. Government officials suggested that Musk’s investment would develop the local population and make it the leading technology-producing country in South Asia.

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The Papuans, who were offered to SpaceX where they live, announced that billionaire businessman Elon Musk was not welcome in the region. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has suggested using Biak Island in Papua, west of the island of New Guinea, as a rocket base for SpaceX. The inhabitants of the island reacted to this decision as it would displace thousands of people, which would destroy the regional ecosystem.
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An Indonesian government representative told The Guardian that Biak’s “space island” would create many jobs for local communities and contribute to the country’s economy.
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However, Manfun Sroyer, a tribal chief in Biak, opposed the decision, stating that establishing a space base on the island would destroy forests and increase the presence of the Indonesian army. In addition, Sroyer stated that many of the indigenous people will be forced to emigrate from the island, saying: “The surface base that is planned to be established will cost our traditions and nature, which is the source of our lives, will harm. However, if we protest this, we will be arrested immediately. “
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On the other hand, in addition to SpaceX, the Russian space agency Roscosmos aims to establish a large rocket station in Biak by 2024.
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Sroyer said: “In 2002, the Russians asked us to establish a satellite for our earth. He reacted to this, then we were arrested and tortured. Now we are faced with the same situation again. “The harassment and intimidation still continue,” he said.
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Biak is part of the Papua province, where a separatist campaign against the Indonesian government is taking place. The east coast of the island faces the Pacific Ocean, and its position one latitude below the equator, which requires less fuel to reach orbit, makes it ideal for launching low-orbit satellites. Its proximity to natural resource reserves also makes it a prime candidate for a launch site.
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Musk plans to launch 12,000 satellites by 2026 to provide cheap internet through the Starlink internet service. West Papua’s vast natural resources include copper and nickel, the most important for rockets. The two mines are also used in batteries in Tesla’s electric cars.
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For this reason, Widodo aims to attract both Tesla and SpaceX to Indonesia, making the country the second largest electric vehicle manufacturer in Southeast Asia. If successful, the Tesla and SpaceX transactions could further accelerate resource extraction in Papua and West Papua. Musk, on the other hand, told Indonesian officials last July that he would “offer a giant long-term contract with Tesla if they extract nickel efficiently and environmentally.” However, Papuans and environmental experts worry that a rocket launch site will cause further damage to the island’s sensitive ecosystem. Benny Wenda, the exiled leader and acting president of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), said: “This is a small island. The ecosystem is already being destroyed and threatens the survival of the Biak people. They just want to Live on the island just without this destruction, “he said.
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