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ELA secures US contract to support development of local launch industry

ELA secures US contract to support development of local launch industry

Stephen Kuper

Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) has announced the company’s first US-based customer, TriSept Corp, and will provide an efficient launch and recovery location in Australia. 

The fast-growing global satellite launch vehicle market is set to surpass US$2.4 billion by 2024. This is an exciting and prospective market for investors to consider, with early stage investment opportunities such as supporting a launch site near the equator being a rare and increasingly appealing option for private portfolios and government allocations. 

The agreement between ELA provides TriSept’s commercial customers with access to one of the most exciting and efficient new launch sites in the world. Located at just 12 degrees from the Equator, ELA’s Arnhem Space Centre in northern Australia is a growing site offering stability in terms of favourable weather, politics, and trade relations.

ELA chief executive Carley Scott welcomed the signing of the agreement, saying it is "a great time for the space industry, with this announcement of a significant international collaboration between ELA and TriSept further activating Australia’s strong trade relationships, keeping the nation at the front of technology innovation, and opening a very exciting launch site to the international market".

Leveraging the extra rotational velocity imparted when launching near the equator is a focus of discussion for international spacecraft and satellite manufacturers who are looking for a launch site facilitating rapid, reliable and cost-effective access for LEO, GEO and deep space missions. 

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"The Arnhem Space Centre is being built by ELA in the north of Australia at a place where the Earth’s rotational speed is 1,635 km/h. Leveraging the Earth’s speed, a launch vehicle can carry more payload to space than if launched at other sites at higher latitudes, resulting in a a more efficient launch for customers," Scott added. 

Launches for customers are expected to commence from the Arnhem Space Centre this year, with increasingly complex missions being planned as the site  continues to be developed in alignment with customer demand.

 

CEO of TriSept Rob Spicer will formally announce the agreement at the upcoming SmallSat Symposium in February 2019.

Spicer said, "The Arnhem Space Centre provides small satellite operators with an opportunity to get the most out of their missions and TriSept is the only launch service provider that currently has access to booking and delivering services from this new and exciting site.

"We now look forward to speaking with customers at the SmallSat Symposium in Mountain View and discussing how we can provide access to this site, and the benefits it can deliver missions being planned from 2019 and beyond."

The core team at Equatorial Launch Australia has already achieved more milestones than similar ventures attempted in Australia, with a 40-year lease secured and a range of customers formalising their interest in launching from the site.

The Gumatj Corporation, Developing East Arnhem and the Northern Territory government have all been instrumental in supporting this project from the beginning, for seeing its benefits and backing our proposal to be the first commercial space centre in Australia.

Founded in 1994, TriSept Corporation began with the role of managing launch integration and supporting launch and space vehicle processing activities for the US government.

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