First Satellite Port to be in New Ireland Province

A Russian company has agreed to launch Papua New Guinea’s first satellite launch facility in New Ireland Province.

New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan said yesterday that the provincial government was having discussions with the Russians who have formed an international consortium for the spaceport.

“The region’s momentous satellite launch facility is alive. We are still in discussions with the Russians. We were supposed to fund their travel to New Ireland but have not done so due to funding issues,” Sir Julius said when speaking on the impact project he announced two years ago.

Sir Julius said he was not in a position to release the name of the company which had the backing of the Russian Government and President Vladimir Putin. Details of the cost were not disclosed but it was estimated that the amount would be several billions of dollars.

“These are very delicate discussions,” Sir Julius said.

“We do not want to pre-empt the work the consortium is doing to bring in international support for the project.

The managing company has already come to agreements with several international satellite launch companies which are actively searching for new sites near the equator from which to launch.”

Sir Julius said New Ireland was in an ideal location for a satellite launch facility because of its location near the equator.

“Rockets lift off faster at the equator than at any other point on earth and use less fuel but more payload,” explained a Russian scientist.

“We are currently working with the Government of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to finalise the details of this project. When we have done that and consulted with the consortium we will make an announcement with full details. With the co-operation of the National Government this project will become a reality.”

Sir Julius said that an international satellite launch facility would put New Ireland and Papua New Guinea on the international map. It would include an international airport and associated facilities.

“It will be good for business and tourism and it will present no environmental issues such as those encountered in mining or related projects. It is something we look forward to as a key component of the future of New Ireland for many many years.”

Post-Courier online March 03, 2017, 1.14am

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