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Australia's Northern Territory is ideally placed to host key infrastructure and services for the global space industry, with competitive advantages:

  • Launch services of space vehicles to all orbits
  • ground stations
  • and the launch and recovery of high altitude pseudo satellites (HAPS)

space icons

These major space organisations have already recognised the Territory’s competitive advantages:

  • Equatorial Launch Australia operating a commercial launch facility, the Arnhem Space Centre, from Nhulunbuy
  • NASA launching a sounding rocket campaign from the Arnhem Space Centre in June/July 2022, its first from a commercial spaceport outside the US
  • The HAPS Alliance acknowledging that the Territory’s conducive weather conditions and close proximity to key markets are strategic advantages for HAPS operators
  • NASA, JAXA and CNES launching scientific high altitude balloon campaigns from the Alice Springs Ballooning Facility since the 1970s
  • Geoscience Australia housing its ground station, that forms part of the Landsat Network, in Alice Springs
  • Viasat constructing two commercial ground stations in Alice Springs to expand its Real-Time Earth Network
  • ArianeGroup installing an optical telescope in Alice Springs to extend its GeoTracker space situation awareness network
  • OneWeb has established its NT gateway site consisting of 14 antenna just outside of Darwin
  • LeoLabs selecting Arnhem Land as its preferred location for their Northern Australia Radar

The Territory’s geographic location provides a host of benefits for launch facilities and ground stations:

  • proximity to the equator (creating cost efficiencies for launch operators and their customers)
  • low population (supporting safe and efficient launch and payload recovery)
  • southern hemisphere location and proximity to Asia (well placed to host ground station systems)
  • clear skies for much of the year
  • low light pollution
  • limited noise interference.

The development of the Arnhem Space Centre provides a range of investment opportunities in the satellite and launch supply chain:

  • small satellite manufacturing and ground systems for small satellite networks
  • data collection, analysis and provision of value-added services
  • tourism and education services.
Updated 26 July 2022