COVID-19 restrictions force NASA to delay NT rocket launch program

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, NASA has been forced to delay its NT rocket launch, with the first rocket launch from the Equatorial Launch Australia site in Arnhem Land delayed until next year. 

The two organisations planned to launch their rocket program this year from the Arnhem Space Centre. 

Although preparation of the East Arnhem Land site had been progressing smoothly, Equatorial Launch Australia chief executive Carley Scott says the plan had to be pushed out as they await government regulation and restriction plans. 

Ms Scott said there was an upside to the delay with the opportunity to look at one or two additional missions. Currently, NASA will launch three suborbital rockets carrying scientific research equipment from the East Arnhem site. 

Northern Territory startup Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) secured the deal with NASA in 2019, and while it’s one small step for a startup, the Arnhem Space Centre will be a significant site in the Asia Pacific region and attract new business and investment opportunities to the Territory.