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Arianespace announces satellite tracking station for Alice Springs

Max Blenkin

The Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfAT) near Alice Springs is set to host a new satellite tracking system under an agreement with European space launch company ArianeGroup.

Arianespace announces satellite tracking station for Alice Springs
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Ariane’s GeoTracker will consist of multiple instruments encased in a three-metre tall clamshell observatory dome.

This is the second commercial satellite ground infrastructure project CfAT has been able to secure for the Alice Springs site and will complement the existing Geoscience Australia satellite ground station at CfAT and the recently announced Real-Time Earth satellite ground station, a commercial venture between Viasat and CfAT Satellite Enterprises.

Alice Springs is am excellent location for such ventures as its clear skies facilitate the Ariane technology to automatically track satellites using an optical telescope.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the NT government was doing everything it could to create jobs for locals, even reaching for the stars.

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“Attracting innovative projects to the Territory is just one way we are making sure there is more local investment and local jobs,” he said.

“Today’s announcement from CfAT and the ArianeGroup shows the Territory is open for business, with government ready to back quality projects that create jobs.

“After tough times, the Territory economy is now on the road to recovery. We know the only way to make the central Australia stronger is through jobs, not cuts. We’ll always put jobs first.”

CfAT is an Indigenous controlled organisation based five kilometres south of Alice Springs, which aims to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians through using appropriate technology to improve their access to a range services.

That includes developing technology suitable for remote areas, including power systems and housing.

Currently, 23 local jobs are supported through CfAT, with this project further supporting these and future roles. The majority of CfAT employees are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

CfAT plans to use this new project and the company will leverage this opportunity to develop local capability in technical construction and facility maintenance.

NT local Labor member Dale Wakefield said this announcement showed that Alice Springs has the capacity and capability to be one of the space and innovation hubs of the NT, supporting jobs and local business.

“Alice Springs is well known for enjoying more than 250 days per year without cloud, so this project occurring here, makes sense,” she said.

“We have a bright future in Alice Springs and this government will keep fighting hard for major projects and events that will be game changers for our town and benefit our community.”

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