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ELA signs first long-term spaceport tenant

A Korean launch company is set to become the first long-term tenant based at Equatorial Launch Australia’s spaceport in the Northern Territory.

The deal will see Innospace blast-off “several” rocket variants, each carrying payloads of between 50 kilograms and 500 kilograms, into low-Earth orbit from early 2025.

It significantly follows ELA launching three NASA rockets from its Arnhem Space Centre on the Gove Peninsula last year.

On Thursday, ELA announced its first major deal that will see Innospace become one of up to seven resident launchers’.


The pair will now work with the Australian Space Agency to obtain a launch permit - a process that is expected to take between six and 14 months to complete.

Michael Jones, executive chairman and group CEO of ELA, called the agreement a “major milestone”.

“We are delighted to announce this multi-launch and long-term agreement with Innospace and what we hope is the first of several launch agreements which we have been developing for some time,” he said.

“The launch contract and associated space launch complex agreement, which we have been discussing for over a year, provide Innospace with the flexibility they require around launching a range of launch vehicles at an increasing cadence over the next five years.”


The news comes after ELA earlier this year agreed a separate deal to become the dedicated launch site of American space transportation and rocket manufacturing company Phantom Space Corporation.

It also follows NASA’s launches last year -- 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.

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.

The three marked NASA’s first blast-offs from Australia since 1995, when launches were conducted from the RAAF Woomera Range Complex.

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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