There’s nothing new about proposals for space launching facilities based …

Comment on Alice Springs losing the space race? by Alex Nelson.

There’s nothing new about proposals for space launching facilities based somewhere in the Top End. In the 1960s the European Space Research Agency assessed the Top End as a potential location for launching satellites but opted instead for French Guiana in South America.
The north of Australia in those times was considered too remote and expensive to operate such a facility.
In September 1986 a British space engineering firm approached the NT Government for consideration of a satellite launching site but this never progressed. I vaguely recall the reason (apparently) why the Top End was rejected was because of concerns about the trajectory of rockets passing over New Guinea, any launch failures posing an unacceptable risk to population centres in that country. This seems no longer to be a major concern.
The reason sites nearest the equator are preferred for rocket launches is because that’s where the Earth spins fastest on its axis, which gives added impetus for launches into orbit. The saving in fuel costs is considerable (a major reason why the US has its major launch facility at Cape Canaveral – previously Kennedy – in Florida, and the Europeans have theirs in French Guiana. Both sites have the advantage of launch trajectories tracking over the open ocean, too).
Ironically, probably the best location on earth for a space launching site – located precisely on the equator and with open ocean to the east – also happens to be one of the most dangerous places on the planet: It is Mogadishu in Somalia!

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

‘Catastrophic’ drop in construction work
@ Evelyne (Posted June 28, 2019 at 3:15 pm): Perhaps you should ask people working within the public service/bureaucracy about the difference between democracy and tyranny. On second thought, don’t bother – they all have to keep their mouths shut.


‘Catastrophic’ drop in construction work
@ Interested Darwin Observer (Posted June 28, 2019 at 8:04 am): Oh! Are we a democracy?


Alice to get first Aboriginal owned earth ground station
If I recall correctly, the Geoscience Australia Antenna commenced operation as a Landsat receiving station in 1979, so this year marks its 40th anniversary.
Our family was living at the CSIRO residence by Heath Road at the time, now the Centre for Appropriate Technology.
There was one funny occasion when my brother was wandering around in the paddock nearby the new facility, and wherever he went the antenna would swing around and point towards him.
I think he got a bit spooked by it but it was the technical officers in the adjoining demountable lab that were just having a bit of fun.


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This is tremendous good news for Alice Springs. I shall put on hold my plans to move to Katherine 🙂


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Certainly not the first time that kind of offence has occurred at those premises!


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