Investment opportunities

The Northern Territory's space industry

Location: Northern Territory, Australia

Sector: Space industry

Investment type: Various

Project status: Conceptual

Project description

Satellites sending beams to earthThe 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.

Industry snapshot

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.

GlobeGlobal industry value: approx US $320 billion
GraphAnnual growth 1998 to 2015: approx 9.5%
SatelliteAustralian space industry value: $3-4 billion
PeopleJobs: 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 Review-of-Australias-Space-Industry-Capability-Issues-Paper.pdf

Contact details

Claire George
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


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Disclaimer: This web page includes information provided by third parties. The information is general in nature and is for information purposes only. The Northern Territory Government makes no representation about the veracity or accuracy of information provided by third parties. You must rely on your own due diligence before proceeding. You should consider seeking independent professional advice.

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