Australia’s first commercial spaceport, Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA), has announced that it has inked a contract with U.S.-based TriSept Corporation, that offers launch integration services, rideshare and dedicated missions to small satellite customers. This agreement will see ELA provide an efficient launch and recovery location for the fast-growing commercial satellite and rocket launch market which is poised to pass U.S.$2.4 billion in 2024.
The launch site, located near the Equator, is an attractive proposition for private and government missions. Located at just 12 degrees from the Equator at the Arnhem Space Centre in Northern Australia, it offers stability in terms of favourable weather, politics, and trade relations. It offers the extra rotational velocity imparted when launching near the Equator and therefore offers rapid, reliable and cost-effective access for LEO, GEO and deep space missions. The Earth’s rotational speed is 1635km/h. Utilising this speed, more payload can be carried into space than at other sites at higher latitude and this means that customers benefit from a more efficient launch. This is a big attraction for international customers that wish to deploy their satellites into space.
Launches are expected to commence later this year with more complex missions planned as the site develops and as they are called for by customer demand.
The news has been welcomed by the newly established Australian Space Agency which recognises that the sector holds great potential for the country and is actively engaged in creating an ideal environment to attract enterprises and initiatives. The Agency forecasts that the industry could bring 10,000 jobs and an increase of AUS$12 billion in space industry related activities by 2030.
ELA CEO, Ms Carley Scott, stated that it was “a great time for the space industry, with this announcement of a significant international collaboration between ELA and TriSept further activating Australia’s strong trade relationships, keeping the nation at the front of technology innovation, and opening a very exciting launch site to the international market.”
The agreement was formally announced by Rob Spicer, CEO, TriSept, at the SmallSat Symposium in California last week.
“The Arnhem Space Centre provides small satellite operators with an opportunity to get the most out of their missions and TriSept is the only launch service provider that currently has access to booking and delivering services from this new and exciting site,” Mr Spicer said. “Customers of TriSept can leverage our 25 years of experience in planning, engineering and integration, working with ELA to make the entire process of launch smoother for our customers.” he said. “This is the same site that has been referenced in two NASA Sounding Rocket Annual Reports with good reason. The offer of an equatorial site in Australia really opens a lot of opportunity for a range of satellite missions, and we’re looking forward to supporting more of these going forward.” said Mr Spicer.