NT announces new space strategy, invites applications for earth observation seed fund program

The Northern Territory government has announced its Territory Space Strategy 2022 – 2026, which it says outlines a vision to have the NT recognised as the home of high-altitude pseudo-satellites in the Indo-Pacific region, as the nation’s leading launch location, and as a top regional centre for ground station facilities.

In a statement on Thursday on the five-year strategy – and the opening of grant applications for a new program making use of earth observation data – the NT government said the territory had a strong foundation to build on.

Cited were two ground stations hosted by CfAT Satellite Enterprises (a subsidiary of the indigenous-owned not-for-profit the Centre for Appropriate Technologies), the establishment of the Arnhem Space Centre by Equatorial Launch Australia, and three planned sounding rocket launches by NASA in June and July, the first of which will also be the first launch by NASA from a commercial spaceport outside the US.

Few other details were provided in the statement about the updated space strategy.

Following recent news of a partnership by Telstra and OneWeb to expand connectivity in the region – with three new dedicated teleports for satellite communications across Australia, with one at Tivendale planned to go-live in July – the NT government also announced a new $200,000 demonstrator grant program, named Earth Observation for the Northern Territory.

EO4NT is run in partnership with Geoscience Australia and will offer seed funding to private organisations to develop products and services solving challenges in: 

  • Minerals; 
  • Agribusiness and fisheries; and
  • Government services

Data will come from Geoscience Australia’s Digital Earth Australia platform and projects will run for six months, beginning July. More information on terms and conditions can be seen here.

Applications are open now and will close on June 27, and can be made via the GrantsNT website.

A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to EO4NT as a partnership between the NT government and Earth Observation Australia.

Main picture: Australian Academy of Science

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