Reaching to Stars to Create Territory Jobs

An agreement between a European aerospace company and an Indigenous-controlled company based in Central Australia is cementing the Northern Territory’s position in the trillion-dollar global space industry.

European space launch company, ArianeGroup, has today announced Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfAT), located 10km south of the Alice Springs CBD, will host their GEOTracker® station at their premises.

Alice Springs is perfectly positioned to provide the clear skies required to operate ArianeGroup technology, which will automatically track satellites using an optical telescope.

The Territory Labor Government actively facilitated the connection between CfAT and the ArianeGroup, demonstrating how it is effectively positioning the Territory in a highly competitive international space industry to attract private investment, and develop new and exciting industries.

Currently, 23 local jobs are supported through CfAT, with this project further supporting these and future roles through:

  • CfAT developing the site;
  • Procuring the observatory dome;
  • Installing the equipment;
  • Providing the internet connection; and
  • Facilities maintenance and hosting management.

The majority of CfAT employees are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and the company will leverage this opportunity to develop local capability in technical construction and facility maintenance.

This is the second commercial satellite ground infrastructure project CfAT has been able to secure for their Alice Springs site.

The GeoTracker will consist of multiple instruments which will be encased in a three-metre tall clamshell observatory dome. The structure will complement the existing Geoscience Australia satellite ground station and the recently announced Real Time Earth satellite ground station – a commercial venture between Viasat and CfAT Satellite Enterprises.

The space industry is really starting to take off in the Territory with Equatorial Launch Australia recently starting construction on the Arnhem Space Centre, with the first launch from the facility anticipated this year.

Quotes attributed to Chief Minister Michael Gunner:

“The Territory Labor Government is doing everything it can to create jobs for locals – we’ll even reach for the stars.

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

“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.”

Quotes attributed to Member for Braitling Dale Wakefield:

“Creating jobs for all Territorians is the main goal of this Territory Labor Government.

“Today’s announcement illustrates Alice Springs has the capacity and capability to be one of the space and innovation hubs of the NT – which will support 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.

“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.”

Quotes attributed to Peter Renehan, CEO Centre for Appropriate Technology:

“These strategic opportunities need to be embraced by Aboriginal businesses such as CfAT, and goes to show innovative ways of developing projects that connect people across the world

“CfAT is excited to show leadership in this area that the whole community can benefit from, and we are very proud to be working closely with the ArianeGroup on this project”.

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