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Arnhem Space Centre secures more US commercial launches

The Northern Territory’s Arnhem Space Centre has been named as a dedicated launch site of American space transportation and rocket manufacturing company Phantom Space Corporation.

The deal between Phantom and ASC’s owner, Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA), will see Phantom launch commercial missions from the site in the Top End, as well as potentially other commercial and sovereign customers from the Asia-Pacific region.

“We liked Phantom from the outset — their technology, commercial philosophy — and quite frankly, they have been a launch mentor for us from our first meeting. Their experience and knowledge are a clear standout in the small launcher market,” said Michael Jones, executive chairman and group CEO of ELA.

“Last year’s successful launches with NASA allowed us to showcase the skill and capabilities of both ELA and the ASC to the world. We’re excited to embark on that journey again, this time with Phantom Space Corporation.


“This MOU not only confirms ELA’s position at the forefront of global commercial space launch, it also confirms Australia as a partner for all companies looking to launch, particularly those that want the unique benefits the ASC provides.”

Mark Lester, chief operating officer of Phantom Space, said the agreement will provide its customers with “assured access to space”.

“Launch sites are akin to gates at an airport — it’s imperative to have a robust portfolio to meet customer needs. Arnhem Space Centre fits perfectly into Phantom’s strategy as it broadens our direct access to new orbital regimes with a proven spaceport,” he said.

“In addition to ASC’s unique geography, ELA’s success with NASA’s space launches and their ability to provide a full-service spaceport at low cost were key elements in selecting ASC as our next dedicated launch site.”


ASC in 2022 hosted two NASA launches — the first from a commercial port outside the US, and Australia’s first commercial space launches.

More than 70 NASA staff travelled Down Under from the Wallops Flight Facility to work on the project.

It marked the space agency’s first rocket launches from Australia since 1995 when launches were conducted from the RAAF Woomera Range Complex.

The first mission saw the sub-orbital “sounding rocket” blast-off from the launchpad carrying scientific instruments designed to observe the Alpha Centauri A & B constellations, later followed up by the second launch, dubbed SISTINE.

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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