The Territory’s space industry: where tradition meets innovation

The Territory recently hosted Boeing, CSIRO, Nova Group, the Australian Space Agency, and Equatorial Launch Australia as part of twin space forums in Darwin and Nhulunbuy.

Chair of the Space Industry Association of Australia Michael Davis was joined by Boeing’s Michael deLaChapelle, CSIRO’s Phil Crosby, Australian Space Agency’s Anntonette Dailey, Equatorial Launch Australia’s (ELA) Carley Scott, and rounding out the delegation was Nova Group’s Peter Nikoloff.

The forum’s panellists took the audience on a journey through the future of space transportation and reusable rockets, to an overview of Western Australia’s (WA) Square Kilometre Array (SKA) - set to be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope upon completion - to the space industry’s national strategic vision, before finally focusing on Australia’s first planned launch facility, Arnhem Space Centre.

The Gumatj Corporation (representing one of East Arnhem’s Aboriginal Traditional Owner groups) and ELA are working in partnership to develop Australia’s first launch facility, which will play a crucial role in the domestic and international space ecosystems.

Fittingly, the Nhulunbuy Space Forum was opened by Gumatj elder Djalu Gurruwiwi and his brothers Jason and Larry with the musical performance, Songlines of the Morning star. The song charts the journey of the Seven Sisters within what is commonly known as the Pleiades star cluster in the Taurus constellation.

Songs within Aboriginal culture have often explored the sky and outer space, many of which historically served as astronomical and navigational oral maps. In these songs, astronomical phenomena such as the function of eclipses and the tides, has been passed down from generation to generation as traditional knowledge.

The NT space forums were delivered thanks to the support of the Space Industry Association of Australia, Developing East Arnhem Limited and the Northern Territory Government. View videos of the presentations delivered on the Space Industry Association website.

Find out more about how space is already supporting the northern economy:

The Northern Territory’s Space Industry
Space and the ‘northern economy’
Australian Space Agency

And if you’re already using space or want to explore how space could support your business, please email nado@nt.gov.au

Forum presenters and their areas of discussion

Boeing, Michael deLaChapelle: A fascinating look at the future of space transportation and reusable rockets, as well as a brief introduction on the history of hypersonic speed.

CSIRO, Dr Phil Crosby: An overview of WA's Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Upon completion, it will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. Situated in the WA’s remote Murchison Shire, the SKA also serves as a reminder of what is possible in arid and remote environments.

Australian Space Agency, Anny Dailey: Provided valuable insight into the national strategic vision for the space industry and its impact on broader economic sectors including precision agriculture, mining and remote operation, biomedicine, advanced manufacturing, emergency services, and urban planning.

Equatorial Launch Australia, Carley Scott: Delivered a comprehensive overview of the Arnhem Space Centre being developed near Nhulunbuy in the Territory’s East Arnhem Land. Situated on Aboriginal owned land, the project provides a fantastic example of business collaboration between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesses.

Satellite floating in space