Rocket Company Inks MOU with Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) for Launches from Arnhem Space Centre

 ELA Equatorial Space

Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA), a leading spaceport operator, has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Singaporean rocket company Equatorial Space Systems (ESS) for a series of launches of the Dorado family of suborbital rockets at the Arnhem Space Centre. The collaboration signals growing demand for launch opportunities in what’s being hailed as ‘Asia’s launch site of choice’.

The MOU sets the stage for a comprehensive Spaceport Services Agreement between ELA and ESS, potentially positioning ESS as a resident launcher at the Arnhem Space Centre. This agreement could pave the way for ESS to conduct orbital launches for satellite clients with their Volans rocket, boasting up to 500kg payload capacity. However, all future launches are contingent upon obtaining necessary regulatory approvals from both the ELA Arnhem Space Centre and Equatorial Space Systems.

Initially, ESS plans to utilise the existing infrastructure at the spaceport, including the launch pad previously used by NASA in 2022 for ELA’s three successful suborbital launches.

“These launches marked the first successful commercial launches for Australia and NASA’s first commercial launches outside the US”, stated Michael Jones, Executive Chairman, and Group CEO of Equatorial Launch Australia.

Michael Jones, Executive Chairman and Group CEO of ELA, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, highlighting the shared vision between ELA and ESS for pushing the boundaries of space technology and infrastructure. Simon Gwozdz, CEO of Equatorial Space Systems, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the mutual goal of achieving more sustainable, democratized, and flexible space access.

The Arnhem Space Centre is rapidly gaining traction as a global and Asian launch site of choice. This MOU follows a multi-year, multi-launch deal announced in August 2023 with Korean rocket company Innospace for 12 orbital launches starting in 2025. Furthermore, four other Asian rocket companies have expressed interest in launching from the site, underscoring its attractiveness due to flexible orbits, ease of access, and favorable logistics.

Jones emphasized the advantages of the Arnhem Space Centre, including its cost-effective solutions for small and large rockets, facilities for assembly and integration, and remote location facilitating launch operations and recovery. He also noted Australia’s geopolitical stability, mature economy, and supportive regulatory environment as factors contributing to its appeal in the global space industry.

ELA recently unveiled designs for its Spaceport of the Future, featuring state-of-the-art Horizontal Integration Facility buildings and innovative ASCALP launch pad designs. This technology aims to meet the rapid-response launch needs of the future, positioning ELA as a key player in the burgeoning space exploration sector.

Equatorial Space Systems, backed by Techstars and headquartered in Singapore, is pioneering eco-friendly, low-cost rockets to shape the future of space exploration. With proprietary propulsion technologies, ESS aims to commence orbital launch services in 2026. The backing of Paspalis Innovation Investment Fund (PIIF) further underscores the potential of ELA, with PIIF recognising the promise in ELA’s business model, product, and technology and thus investing in the company’s success.

Source: ELA – contains edits.

About Paspalis Innovation Investment Fund

Paspalis is one of Australia’s leading private investment firms. Their business aligns its interests with those of their investors and partners for lasting impact in Australia’s North.

Paspalis invests in both Australian and Offshore high growth companies looking to grow their businesses in the Northern Territory. When Paspalis invest, they are able to leverage their reputation, knowledge, programs and network, providing meaningful positive value to their investees.

Learn more about PIIF here.