Northern Territory's space industry

Location: Northern Territory, Australia

Sector: Space industry

Investment type: Various

Project status: Conceptual

Project description

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.

Satellite in space travelling over Australia

Industry snapshot

Globe Global industry value: approx US$340 billion
Graph Annual growth 1998 to 2015: approx 9.5%
Satellite Australian space industry value: AU$3-4 billion
People Australian jobs: approx 10 000

Space has become a fast-growing and competitive commercial sector. Falling launch costs, smaller, lighter and cheaper satellites, and increased commercial applications for space-related technology are driving a new wave of investment in the space economy. 

The Australian Government has recently established the Australian Space Agency to grow the Australian space industry, support the long-term development and application of space technologies and secure Australia’s place in the global space economy.

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.

The significant amounts of available land reduces the risks of launches and 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.

Satellites sending beams to earthThe 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. The Northern Territory Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the South Australian and Australian Capital Territory governments and is now working with the Australian Space Agency.

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.

More information

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

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.