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Business Envoy February 2022

Australia's space sector - we have lift-off

Enrico Palermo, Head of the Australian Space Agency

Launch is no doubt the most exciting element of space. Seeing a rocket or satellite shoot into orbit sends a tingle down the spine – be it that of a bright-eyed young kid or the most seasoned space professional.

But for Australia, launch is more than just awe-inspiring – it's an area of economic opportunity that we at the Australian Space Agency are working diligently to grow.

The global space launch services market is expected to reach US$29.6 billion by 2027.


Satellite launch.
Satellite launch. Image courtesy of NBN Co.

Australia has a unique opportunity to carve out a healthy piece of this growing industry. Our geographical advantages and political stability alone make us an attractive destination for launch activities.

Access to Space is a priority area for our Agency. We're working with the local space sector to capitalise on our natural advantage and draw- on international investment.

Australia has a long space history, including in launch. We were sending things into space from ‘Down Under' more than half a century ago.

But as space evolves and becomes more accessible, launches are now more affordable and frequent. This presents a golden opportunity for our nation.

In 2021, we had two launch facility licenses granted to Australian company Southern Launch and a launch permit granted to international company TiSPACE for a hybrid rocket test flight.

Australia's unique launch possibilities have also caught the attention of NASA, which is working with Equatorial Launch Australia toward a launch at the Arnhem Space Centre in the Northern Territory in mid-2022.

The fact that NASA has picked Australia, for its first launch at a commercial facility outside of the USA, reflects the momentum we are currently seeing in our local space sector.

There are other space businesses around Australia readying for launch too – and the Australian Space Agency is working with them to make that happen.

With a responsibility to both regulate and grow the space sector - we are determined to make Australia a thriving and safe destination for launch.

And our message to the global space sector is that Australia is open for launch business.


Datron antenna in Alice Springs with Indigenous artwork to recognise the Arrente people as the traditional owners of the land.
Datron antenna in Alice Springs with Indigenous artwork to recognise the Arrente people as the traditional owners of the land. Image courtesy of Geoscience Australia.
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