Space Program of East Timor

------The East Timor Space Agency------

Level = 0                                         Development: Very Low


Country Overview

What has been going on in East Timor?



Space Agency and its Activity

What kind of space power do they have?



Weapons and Power Projection

Does East Timor have space weapons?



Timeline and the Future

What are they planning over there?

Population: 1,100,000 / Language: Portuguese / GDP: $800 / Cities: Dili

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   East Timor's road to independence - achieved on 20 May 2002 - was long and traumatic.

The people of the first new nation of the century suffered some of the worst atrocities of modern times.

An independent report has said at least 100,000 Timorese died as a result of Indonesia's 25-year occupation, which ended in 1999.

Indonesia invaded shortly after Portugal withdrew in 1975 and forcefully tried to subdue a resentful people and guerrillas fighting for independence.

World powers were accused of contributing to the subsequent calamity by turning a blind eye or by actively supporting the occupation by supplying weapons.

Indonesia finally agreed in 1999 to let the East Timorese choose between independence and local autonomy. Militia loyal to Indonesia, apparently assisted by the military, tried in vain to use terror to discourage a vote for independence.

When the referendum showed overwhelming support for independence, the loyalists went on the rampage, murdering hundreds and reducing towns to ruins. An international peacekeeping force halted the mayhem and paved the way for a United Nations mission which helped East Timor back onto its feet.

The rebuilding of East Timor has been one of the UN's biggest success stories. The UN Mission of Support in East Timor, Unmiset, wound up in May 2005. But an outbreak of violence a year later prompted the UN Security Council to set up a new peacekeeping force, Unmit. The UN said poverty and unemployment had exacerbated the unrest.

East Timor will rely on outside help for many years since its infrastructure is poor and the country is drought-prone. However, vast offshore oil and gas fields in the Timor Sea hold much potential. East Timor and Australia have agreed to share revenues from the reserves. As a part of the deal, a decision on the disputed maritime border in the area was deferred.

East Timor also faces the challenge of bringing about reconciliation. Indonesia and East Timor set up bodies to bring the perpetrators to justice. However a 2005 UN report concluded that the systems had failed to deliver. The Indonesian special court acquitted most of the 18 suspects indicted over the violence.

  • Full name: Democratic Republic of East Timor
  • Population: 857,000 (UN, 2005)
  • Capital: Dili
  • Area: 14,609 sq km (5,641 sq miles)
  • Major languages: Tetum and Portuguese (official), Indonesian and English (working languages)
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 56 years (women), 54 years (men) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 US dollar = 100 cents
  • Main exports: Coffee, marble, potential for oil exports
  • GNI per capita: $750 (World Bank, 2006)
  • Internet domain: .tl
  • International dialling code: +670

 President: Xanana Gusmao

Independence hero Xanana Gusmao was chosen by an overwhelming majority in presidential elections in April 2002 to be the fledgling country's first head of state. The role is mainly ceremonial.

Mr Gusmao, who says unemployment and poverty are East Timor's biggest problems, took control of the army and police in May 2006 under emergency powers intended to contain gang violence.

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 East Timor's Space Infrastructure

East Timor is troubled by poverty and hunger, and its space program is not suprisingly, nonexistent. Not only does it not have an agency, but also not much of an infrastructure in which one would arise. The University of East Timor offers nothing specific to space related educational architecture, such as astrophysics, astronomy, astronautics or aeronautics. The government has no ministry devoted to science of this type.

East Timor has no history of being part of any organization dealing with space, nor has any launch capability.

East Timor lacks the industrial base, the educational base and the political foundation for a process like this to occur within it. It has no functioning university with an astrophysics or astronautics program, and marginal industry.

East Timor operates no satellites and, not having an orbital presence, has no space power.

The government of East Timor in Kampala has no plans for attempting to further any ambition in space development or research.


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Timeline of Events in East Timor

...From the Past to the Future

 1600s - Portuguese invade Timor, set up trading post and use island as source of sandalwood.

1749 - Timor split following battle between Portuguese and Dutch. Portuguese take the eastern half.

Xanana Gusmao: Former guerrilla leader and first president

  • Captured by Indonesian forces in 1992 and jailed
  • Released in February 1999, returned from exile in October 1999
  • Won presidential elections in 2002

1942 - Japanese invade, fighting battles with Australian troops. Up to 60,000 East Timorese are killed. Japan in control until 1945.

1974 - Anti-Fascist revolution in Portugal leads to promise to free colonies, encouraging parties to prepare for new future.

1975 August - Portuguese administration withdraws to offshore island of Atauro.

1975 October - Five foreign journalists killed along border with West Timor, allegedly by Indonesian troops.

1975 November - After brief civil war, Fretilin (Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor) declares East Timor independent.

1975 December - Indonesia invades, using its fight against communism as a pretext. It annexes territory as its 27th province, a move not recognised by the UN.

Strong resistance to Indonesian rule followed by repression and famine in which 200,000 people are thought to have died.

1981 - Xanana Gusmao becomes leader of Falintil (Armed Forces of National Liberation of East Timor), the armed wing of Fretilin.

Bishop Belo: Spiritual leader and Nobel peace laureate

  • Born in 1948
  • 1975-1983: Exiled in Portugal and Italy
  • 1996: Awarded Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Ramos Horta

1991 - Santa Cruz cemetery massacre in which troops fire on mourners at a funeral in Dili of Fretilin supporter, killing more than 100 people.

1992 - Setback for the resistance as Gusmao is captured near Dili. In 1993 he is convicted of subversion and given a life sentence which is later reduced.

1993 - Groups of East Timorese enter foreign embassies in Jakarta over the next few years seeking political asylum.

1995 - 20th anniversary of the Indonesian invasion marked by protest by 112 East Timorese and sympathisers who enter Russian and Dutch embassies in Jakarta.

1996 - Acting Bishop of Dili, Carlos Belo, and resistance leader Jose Ramos Horta jointly awarded Nobel Peace Prize, raising international awareness of the East Timorese independence struggle.

1998 - Indonesian President Suharto resigns. Replaced by Habibie who suggests territory may be given special status within Indonesia.

Indonesia's grip loosens

1999 January - Indonesia says it will consider independence for East Timor if people reject autonomy.

Exiled resistance leader Jose Ramos-Horta returned in 1999

  • Born in 1949
  • 1975-1999: Exiled in US, Australia
  • 1996: Awarded Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Bishop Belo
  • 2006: Named as prime minister

1999 February-April - Gusmao moved from Jakarta prison to house arrest. In response to increasing violence by anti-independence activists, Gusmao orders guerrillas to resume independence struggle.

1999 May - Indonesia, Portugal sign agreement to allow East Timorese to vote on their future. Deal endorsed by UN.

1999 August 30 - Almost 99% of 450,000-strong electorate votes in UN-organised referendum.

1999 September - Result of referendum shows 78% voters favoured independence.

Violence erupts as anti-independence militia helped by the Indonesian military resume campaign of terror, leaving up to 1,000 dead. A quarter of the population flees, mainly to West Timor. Martial law imposed. Gusmao freed.

Australian-led peacekeeping force arrives, gradually restores order. Many militia members flee to West Timor to avoid arrest. Indonesian parliament recognises outcome of referendum.

1999 October - Gusmao released. UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) established.

1999 December - International donors at a Tokyo conference agree to provide US $520 million in aid to help rebuild East Timor.

2000 September - UN evacuates staff from West Timor after murder of three refugee agency workers by pro-Indonesian militia gangs. An Indonesian court jails six men for up to 20 months for the killings, earning international outrage for being too lenient.

2001 July - East Timor, Australia sign memorandum of understanding over future revenues from oil, gas fields in Timor Sea under which East Timor would get 90% of revenues.

2001 August - Election of 88-member Constituent Assembly; Fretilin party wins, taking 55 seats.

UN chief Kofi Annan meets East Timorese massacre survivors

  • East Timor run by UN from October 1999 to May 2002
  • UN contingent reduced from 3,000 to 700 in 2004

2002 - January - Truth and reconciliation commission opens to try and heal wounds of past.

2002 January - Indonesia inaugurates human rights court to hold military accountable for atrocities in East Timor after 1999 independence vote.

2002 February - East Timor assembly approves draft constitution envisaging government run along parliamentary lines.

2002 February - East Timor and Indonesia sign two agreements aimed at easing relations.

2002 April - Xanana Gusmao wins presidential elections.

2002 20 May - UN Security Council sets up UN Mission of Support in East Timor (Unmiset) to help East Timorese authorities.


2002 20 May - Independence: VIP guests including former US president Bill Clinton and Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri join celebrations in Dili.

2002 September - East Timor becomes 191st member of UN.

2004 January - Portugal announces $63m (50m euros) aid package.

2004 February - Production at offshore gasfield begins; Bayu Undan project is expected to earn $100m a year.

2004 November - End of two-year process under which 18 people were tried by Indonesian court for human rights abuses in East Timor during 1999 independence drive. Only one conviction - that of militia leader Eurico Guterres - is left standing.

2005 April - East Timor, Indonesia sign landmark border agreement during Indonesian President Yudhoyono's first visit to Dili since coming to power.

2005 June - Remaining Australian peacekeepers leave.

2005 August - Truth commission, set up by East Timor and Indonesia, holds its first meeting. The body, which has no power to prosecute, will examine the violence that accompanied East Timor's independence in 1999.

Energy deal

2006 January - East Timor, Australia sign a deal to divide billions of dollars in expected revenues from oil and gas deposits in the Timor Sea. Under the agreement, talks on a disputed maritime boundary are postponed.

Violence erupted after 600 soldiers were dismissed

Report on alleged atrocities during Indonesia's 24-year rule is presented to the UN. It finds that the occupation was directly responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 East Timorese.

2006 May - Foreign troops arrive in Dili to try to restore order as clashes involving former soldiers, who were sacked in March, descend into wider factional violence as well as looting and arson. At least 25 people are killed and about 150,000 take refuge in makeshift camps.

2006 June-July - Prime Minister Alkatiri resigns over his handling of the violence. Jose Ramos-Horta is named as premier.

2006 August - A non-military peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Integrated Mission in East Timor, or Unmit, is set up.




Nothing Planned


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