Indonesian home grown RX-420 rocket launching test has been done successfully into space by LAPAN or Lembaga Antariksa dan Penerbangan Nasional (English: National Institute of Aeronautics and Space) in Southern Region of Garut Regency, West Java Province (toward Indian Ocean) this morning, July 02, 2009. This experiment not only for scientific purposes but also for military purpose. Future mission, Defense Ministry will exploit this test result to be local guided missile for missile defense system as an alternative ground defense force. In this occasion, there were three launching rockets, one RX-420 released by Dr. Adi Sadewo (LAPAN’s chairman) and two RX-100 by BPPT (Badan Pusat Pengembangan Teknologi) – Center For Research and Development’s chairman and the last by a representative official of PT Dirgantara Indonesia DI-Indonessian Aerospace Company) under tight security control.
Indonesian Defense Minister, Juwono Sudarsono said that Defense Office is still calculating the cost comparison between guided missile development cost and main armament supplying cost, such as air fighter and combat ship.
Previously, Science and Technology Minister, Kusmayanto Kadiman said that this morning test launched the biggest rocket so far by Indonesian and used the greatest amount of propellant (solid) fuel. He added, cruise distance of RX-420 rocket may reach up to 100 kilometers and its speed was 4 times of sound speed (mach) so this experiment also to test the rocket to move from subsonic to supersonic speed with temperature may up to 1,200 deg C. Most of material were originated from Indonesia, including the solid fuel. This also to avoid the protest and embargo from any other countries.
LAPAN’s spokesperson, Elly Kuntjahyowati said that this test is a part of LAPAN’s ambition to launch their micro satellite in 2014 with Indonesian local SLV. RX-420 as booster rocket and combined with RX-320 are designed to have cruise range about 3,600 kms.
Video that covered the launching period by national local TV
From the video seen that the first rocket launch (RX-420) at the end of its travel path was twisted from its straight trajectory. It was suspected due to its loosen/cracked fin while traveling in supersonic velocity. However, from this experiment, LAPAN’s objective was achieved to know the rocket condition and performance within the first 10 secs (golden data). Considering this was also the first trial for bigger rocket diameter launch and new play in supersonic condition (stress and temperature related that resulted from more than 4 machs speed) for LAPAN, the experiment result was considered successful.
Note: That’s why the experiment must be performed to compare with the theory and simulation. Other countries that developing long range ballistic missile have done the experiments many times with much larger budget.
For next development, LAPAN with Pindad are going to develop explosive payload for missile development and LAPAN with PT LEN (Lembaga Elektronika Nasional, National Electronics Institute, a strategic state owned company for electronics products) for guided sensor system development. If succeeded, those rocket to be guided missile may reach Singapore from Batam or similar range along the Indonesian border.
This launching news has attracted some foreign news agencies in their website, such as The Straits Times Singapore, The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), Chinese People’s Daily Online, nasdaq.com, AFP and so on.
Note: Citing from digitaljournal.com, nations in Asia are currently in the middle of a regional space race: the Indians are getting ready to build their own crew capsule for putting astronauts in space, China has sent a space probe to the moon, Japan has also done it, and later this year China is going to have their first space walk from their own space craft. So there is a lot of activity going on and it’s all to do with national prestige, and technology and economic development.
Source: lapan.go.id, nasional.vivanews.com, tempointeraktif.com, youtube, digitaljournal.com