South Australia – The Space State

With origins that stem from the nation’s first rocket launches at Woomera in the 1950s, South Australia has a long, rich history at the forefront of Australia’s national and international space efforts.

With over 100 space organisations in Adelaide, South Australia has a dynamic space ecosystem that includes notable private investors, companies, start-ups, and research institutions that are developing space technologies and attracting global attention and investment.

At the heart of South Australia is the Australian Space Agency which aims to increase the space sector to AUD$12 billion and create up to 20,000 additional jobs by 2030.

The AUD$245 million SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre, also headquartered in Adelaide, is Australia’s leading space research project. It brings together Australian Government, state government and industry partners from Australia and the world with a focus on advanced satellite systems, communication technologies and next generation earth observation data services.

South Australia | The defence and space state
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Space ecosystem

The South Australian space sector has the capability and supply chain to deliver a competitive advantage in space, supported by a vibrant, world-leading research and education sector.

The ecosystem consists of upstream and downstream organisations hosting a mix of primes, international organisations and start-ups with end-to-end capabilities including:

  • Satellite sensor and component manufacturing
  • Launch vehicle manufacturing and launch services
  • Mission services including the Australian Mission Control Centre
  • Software integration, data analytics and AI.

Space test and evaluation capability

Whaler’s Way Orbital Launch Complex

A proposed commercial, multi-user facility with industrial infrastructure for space rocket launches (pending approval).

Size: 1,200 hectares

Proposed location: South coast of Eyre Peninsula, within proximity to Port Lincoln

If approved, the site will be the only commercial, multi-user site that offers proximity to established industry infrastructure that can support rocket launches, good year-round weather and unhindered southward launch trajectories across unpopulated areas with low density air and nautical traffic lanes.

Koonibba Test Range

One of the largest commercial testing facilities in the world and Australia’s first licensed space launch facility.

Size: Over 10,000 square kilometres

Location: 40km north-west of Ceduna on the West Coast of the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

Koonibba Test Range extends out 145 kilometres over uninhabited areas. Specialising in suborbital launches, rockets and payload can be recovered for further testing and systems validation before launching into orbit. In April 2023, Southern Launch, and the Koonibba Aboriginal Corporation announced their partnership to develop permanent world-class facilities, expanding the offerings at the Koonibba Test Range. 

Innovation districts

Space Manufacturing Facility

The Government of South Australia is investing AUD$20 million towards local space manufacturing capability, with plans underway to accelerate the development of space innovation into real world commercial technologies. Industry will have access to world-class equipment capable of small satellite and component manufacturing, assembly, integration, and test activities in the heart of the Adelaide CBD within Lot Fourteen Innovation District.

Lot Fourteen Innovation District

Adelaide’s world-class innovation district is home to the Australian Space Agency, Australian Space Discovery Centre, Australian Mission Control Centre, Andy Thomas Space Foundation, SmartSat CRC and the Defence and Space Landing Pad. The district brings together the state’s leading abilities in space, defence, hi-tech and creative industries and provides a space for leading organisations to accelerate innovation, entrepreneurship, research and education. Home to global leaders in machine learning and data, including: 

• Australian Institute for Machine Learning 
• Amazon Web Services 
• Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre  
• Microsoft Azure Space 
• MIT Adelaide Living Lab

Tonsley Innovation District

Tonsley is an outstanding place for global investors to create new products and translate ideas into commercial success. The precinct is focused, specialising in four high-growth sectors where South Australia has a proven capacity including health, medical devices and assistive technologies, clean tech and renewable energy, software and simulation, mining and energy services. The Innovation District is also home to Factory of the Future, a purpose-built facility for industrial scale testing of new technologies and processes ahead of their use in advanced manufacturing.

Technology Park

A hub for systems development and integration, information communications technology, advanced manufacturing and electronics and home to over 100 small to medium enterprises, multinationals and start-ups.

Let's talk

Help for investing in South Australia's Space sector

Sean Williams

Director, Defence and Space

Department for Trade and Investment


+61 479 182 732

Christopher Amor

Business Development Manager

Department for Trade and Investment


+61 (0) 468 771 326

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