Local tribe signs deal for Australian spaceport

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Capitalism in space: An aboriginal tribe tribe in Australia has signed a lease with a new space company proposing to build a spaceport on their land where smallsat rockets can launch.

The Northern Land Council has granted a 275-hectare lease in northeast Arnhem Land to the Gumatj clan for use as a commercial rocket launching facility. That’ll pave the way for Gumatj Aboriginal Corporation to sublease the site to Equatorial Launch Australia, a firm whose $236 million space base proposal is being considered by federal and NT infrastructure funds.

The 12-year lease has an option for a 28-year extension, and is expected to be finalised later this month.

This is the first I have ever heard of Equatorial Launch Australia. Their website provides little information. Further web searches revealed little as well. My impression is that it is focused on creating a spaceport for the use of new Australian smallsat rocket companies. Whether it plans to launch its own rocket is unclear.


One comment

  • Dick Eagleson

    Agree that these ELA people have a very low profile – not even their own domain name it seems. And the Facebook page has no useful content. Northeast Arnhem Land is directly east of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. I couldn’t narrow down the would-be launch site, but it’s presumably somewhere along the ample northern or eastern-facing coasts of this part of Australia. It would, indeed, make a decent site for equatorial launches. The northeast corner of this landmass is at roughly 12 degrees south latitude. That’s further south of the Equator than, say, Kourou in French Guiana is north of it, but it’s a lot closer than any site in the U.S.

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