NASA to launch rockets from the Arnhem Space Centre in NT


The Australian Government has signed off on a historic moment for the local space sector, sanctioning the launch of a series of NASA rockets into space from the Northern Territory later this month.

Between June 26 and July 12, 2022, three scientific suborbital sounding rockets will be launched from the Arnhem Space Centre, which is owned and operated by Equatorial Launch Australia.

The Arnhem Space Centre is located on the Dhupuma Plateau near Nhulunbuy, on the lands of the Gumatj people, who are the Traditional Custodians and Landowners and have been consulted as part of the approval process.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles described the announcement as “a landmark occasion” for the Top End.

“We have backed this project from inception, which I have seen firsthand, and now we’re less than a month away from seeing the launch of NASA’s first sounding rocket from the Arnhem Space Centrel,” Ms Fyles said.

“NASA is adding capacity and rocketing East Arnhem Land into the global spotlight for investors—this will help our industry grow, create more jobs for locals and more opportunities for businesses to expand.”

Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said the launch would further cement Australia’s reputation as a nation that global space players want to do business with.

“The growth of launch related activities in Australia is helping to open up the full value chain of space activities, which will grow the sector and create new businesses and job opportunities here at home,” he stated.

“This launch campaign extends and strengthens Australia’s long standing partnership with the United States in the peaceful uses of outer space.”

This will be NASA’s first rocket launch from a commercial facility outside of the United States. The rockets in question will also be the first NASA rockets to be launched from Australia since 1995, when the Royal Australian Air Force’s Woomera Range Complex hosted launches.

For the launches, approximately 75 NASA personnel will be in Australia. The NASA missions will look into heliophysics, astrophysics, and planetary science phenomena that can only be seen from the southern hemisphere.

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