The Northern Territory's space industry
Location: Northern Territory, Australia
Sector: Space industry
Investment type: Various
Project status: Conceptual
The Northern Territory is ideally placed to play a key role in developing Australia’s space industry. The Northern Territory has a:
- geographical advantage for launch sites
- strategic location close to Asia
- demonstrated capacity to develop emerging industries and host niche high-tech strategic operations.
Developing a local space industry complements the Northern Territory’s existing defence, aviation and land and marine management sectors.
The space industry in Australia is dominated by defence, mining and government. Globally, there has been significant growth in commercial applications of satellite technology, with the increased availability of low cost and lighter satellites. The growth in low cost satellite options provide a cost effective platform for science investigations, new technology demonstrations and employing networks of satellites to improve geographical coverage.
Global industry value: approx US $320 billion
Annual growth 1998 to 2015: approx 9.5%
Australian space industry value: $3-4 billion
Jobs: approx 9,500 to 11,500 people
The Northern Territory’s competitive advantage
The Northern Territory has long been considered as a possible location for space industry projects.
The Northern Territory has a geographical advantage that offers launch sites that are:
- close to the equator (making it easier for rockets to achieve escape velocity and offering the ability to minimise the propellant use or maximise payload size)
- tectonically stable low risk of earthquakes
- close to sea
- sparsely populated.
Launch sites in the Northern Territory also offer clear weather for much of the year (to support launches).
The significant amounts of available land reduces the risks of launches as well as aid in the recovery of payloads. From a global perspective, the Northern Territory also offers a stable political environment and well-established logistics and infrastructure.
The Northern Territory’s proximity to Asia also offers a competitive advantage to working with emerging space industries in the region.
The Northern Territory’s well-established logistics and construction industry is well suited to support the development of launch facilities, including experience in planning and delivering infrastructure in remote locations. Our logistics and construction sector has a proven ability to meet the high security, workplace safety and environmental risk standards required by the defence and oil and gas industries - skills that could be used to work on sensitive or complex space facilities.
The Northern Territory Government is committed to supporting the growth and development of this dynamic sector and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the South Australian and Australian Capital Territory governments.
The Northern Territory Government is ready to work with investors, local industry and other jurisdictions to realise the vision of Australia securing a greater share of the global space economy.
Australian Government, Review of Australia’s Space Industry Capability: Issues Paper - August 2017 https://industry.gov.au/industry/IndustrySectors/space/Documents/ Review-of-Australias-Space-Industry-Capability-Issues-Paper.pdf
Director - Economic and Industry Development
Northern Australia Development and Trade
Department of Trade, Business and Innovation
Phone: +61 8 8999 5369 or +61 401 115 600
Download a printable version - The Northern Territory's space industry (pdf 273 kb)
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