NASA comes to the Territory


An international contingent from NASA is in Nhulunbuy for 40 days of work with Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) at the Arnhem Space Centre.

NASA and ELA are preparing for their mid-2022 sub-orbital sounding rocket launch campaign, which will see three sounding rockets take off from the Arnhem Space Centre.

As part of the mission, the rockets will carry scientific instruments into space to conduct astrophysics research and provide scientists with the opportunity to study astronomical objects that cannot be observed from the Northern Hemisphere rocket ranges from which NASA launches.

This will be the first time NASA will undertake a launch from a commercial launch facility outside of the USA.

The Arnhem Space Centre is a commercial space launch facility, located on the Dhupuma Plateau near Nhulunbuy.

It is under construction, with local contractors including the Gumatj Corporation carrying out large portion of the work to be completed in time for the launch.

Having the Arnhem Space Centre designed to meet NASA’s requirements will make the facility appealing to other commercial launch customers.

The Territory Government is developing a new space strategy to support the future growth of the space industry.

The Australian Space Agency has a goal of tripling the size of Australia’s space sector to $12 billion and creating an additional 20,000 jobs in the sector by 2030.


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