Development of one of Australia’s first commercial space launch facilities
DEAL invested in Equatorial Launch Australia to support the development of one of Australia’s first commercial space launch facilities. The Arnhem Space Centre is located in the Northern Territory’s East Arnhem region, just 12 degrees from the equator, allowing launch vehicles to leverage the earth’s rotation to gain extra velocity. This improves payload to fuel ratios providing significant cost savings over alternative global launch facilities.
Arnhem Space Centre is located on the Dhupuma Plateau just outside of the town of Nhulunbuy, a regional service hub for the East Arnhem region, providing access to crucial existing infrastructure including a high quality airport, a deep sea port, a regional hospital, accommodation and broadband optical fibre connectivity.
The launch facility will initially be equipped with three launch pads to accommodate sub-orbital and small orbital satellite launch vehicles. The facility’s design will allow the site to reliably scale to support all current and future launch and recovery technologies. All orbits are achievable from the Arnhem Space Centre, with comparative advantage in launches to equatorial low earth orbit, geosynchronous equatorial orbit, lunar orbit and deep space.
The region is sparsely populated, air traffic is minimal and the nearby Gulf of Carpentaria has low activity, allowing for frequent launch and easy recovery.
The Arnhem Space Centre will provide training and education, support job creation, drive innovation and development of new technologies and attract new investment to the region.
Equatorial Launch Australia is developing the Arnhem Space Centre in partnership with local traditional owner business Gumatj Corporation and the Northern Territory Government.
Rocket launches in 2022
In early June 2022, Equatorial Launch Australia welcomed more than 70 NASA personnel to Nhulunbuy as the first clients to launch from the Arnhem Space Centre.
On Sunday 26 June at 11.59pm, the first of three NASA sounding rockets was launched from the Arnhem Space Centre on the Gove Peninsula. This was the first commercial launch in Australian space history and the first time NASA had launched a rocket from Australia since 1995. You can watch the launch here.
In June and July 2022, a total of three rocket launches took place from the Arnhem Space Centre:
- LAUNCH #1 – successfully launched @ 11.59pm (ACST) on Sunday 26 June 2022
- LAUNCH #2 – successfully launched @ 11.17pm (ACST) on Wednesday 6 July 2022
- LAUNCH #3 – successfully launched @ 8.31pm (ACST) on Monday 11 July 2022
To learn more about where you can view the rocket launches, visit the East Arnhem Land tourism website here.