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Where to watch a rocket launch in East Arnhem

Yes, you heard correct - there were rockets launched in East Arnhem Land! You can read all about NASA's 3 successful launches for 2022, future plans for the Arnhem Space Centre and much more on the below page. Or follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with any future launch activity, as well as what else is happening in East Arnhem Land! 


On this page:


ELAs Arnhem Space Centre 2

The Arnhem Space Centre is owned and operated by Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) and is located on the Dhupuma Plateau just outside Nhulunbuy. The launch facility will initially be equipped with three launch pads to accommodate sub-orbital and small orbital satellite launch vehicles. The facility’s design will allow the site to reliably scale to support all current and future launch and recovery technologies. All orbits are achievable from Arnhem Space Centre, with comparative advantage in launches to equatorial low earth orbit, geosynchronous equatorial orbit, lunar orbit and deep space.

In early June 2022, ELA welcomed more than 70 NASA personnel to Nhulunbuy as the first clients of ELA to launch from the Arnhem Space Centre.

On Sunday 26 June at 11.59pm, the first of three NASA sounding rockets was launched from the Arnhem Space Centre on the Gove Peninsula. This was the first commercial launch in Australian space history and the first time NASA had launched a rocket from Australia since 1995.

Learn more about the Arnhem Space Centre on the Equatorial Launch Australia website, via the ELA FAQs page or follow them on Facebook

Rockets LAUNCHED IN 2022

In June and July 2022, three rockets were launched from the Arnhem Space Centre:

  • LAUNCH #1 - successfully launched @ 11.59pm (ACST) on Sunday 26 June 2022. Watch it here!
  • LAUNCH #2 - successfully launched @ 11.17pm (ACST) on Wednesday 6 July 2022 (no stream available)
  • LAUNCH #3 - successfully launched @ 8.31pm (ACST) on Monday 11 July 2022. Watch it here!

where to watcH

If you’re in Nhulunbuy and surrounding areas, we have good news - if you have a direct line of sight into the sky, you will be able to see the rocket approximately 10 seconds after launch, and it will be visible for ~30 seconds depending on cloud cover.
NASA have advised that any location that has a good view of the sky looking South West from Nhulunbuy (230 degree magnetic trajectory) will be great for viewing the rocket launches! The below viewing areas are suggested for the Gove Peninsula. The red line indicates the direction of the Arnhem Space Centre where the rocket will be launched from. The rocket will then head South West (230 degree magnetic trajectory). 
Please don't try to get too close to the Arnhem Space Centre. Areas directly surrounding the launch site will be closed during the launches to ensure everyone remains safe, this includes the road to Bawaka homeland and the Garma site which will be closed from 2pm on launch days. The Central Arnhem Road will remain open at all times.
For more information about the launches, check out the FAQs section below! 
  • Hindle Oval - 14 Eugenia Ave, Nhulunbuy NT 0880 Nhulunbuy Hindle Oval
  • Yirrkala Oval - for residents of Yirrkala only Yirrkala Oval
  • Gunyaŋara Oval - for residents of Gunyaŋara only Gunyangara Oval
  • Location of sites on Gove Peninsula Arnhem Space Centre direction



Yes, the Arnhem Space Centre has capacity to launch over 50 rockets per year. Three launches were successful in 2022.

Check this page every so often to make sure you remain up to date on any future launch activity.

Is there a video link where I can watch the launchES?


At this stage there are no confirmed dates for future launches - but they will be happening! Make sure you check this page every so often to make sure you remain up to date on any future launch activity for your chance to be a part of Australia's space story!

Is there a chance the launch will be delayed?

A successful launch is dependent on many things, including the weather! It is not uncommon for rocket launches to be rescheduled given the complexities involved - so sometimes we just have to be patient! 

how big are the rockets?

The rockets that were launched by NASA in 2022 are called sounding rockets and are 14 metres in height. 

Sounding rockets take their name from the nautical term "to sound," which means to take measurements. Sounding rockets are Sub-Orbital which means they are not placed into any orbit. 

How long will you be able to see THE ROCKETS for WHEN THEY LAUNCH?

The sounding rockets launched by NASA in 2022 could be seen for approximately 10 – 30 seconds. Rockets travel fast – make sure not to blink! You might also be able to hear a 'boom' as the rocket takes off, with reports of people hearing launch #1 over 30kms away Nhulunbuy!

On a clear night with no cloud cover, the rocket should be able to be viewed immediately after lift off for approximately 30 seconds and you will be able to track the rocket into the upper reaches of earth’s atmosphere. 

What are the rockets for?

Launch #1 - successful on 26 June

This mission will observed the Galactic soft X-ray bulge and attempt to determine its nature and emission mechanisms. The night sky glows with X-ray light coming from all directions and much of this X-ray light is produced by the interstellar medium, which includes hot gases filling the space between the stars.

Launch #2 - successful on 6 July

The NASA SISTINE mission will help astronomers understand how starlight influences a planet’s atmosphere, possibly making or breaking its ability to support life as we know it.

Launch #3 - successful on 11 July

This mission is called the Dual-channel Extreme Ultraviolet Continuum Experiment, or DEUCE, and will measure a so-far unstudied part of their extreme ultraviolet light spectrum. These measurements are needed to model stars similar to and smaller than our Sun, as well as understand their effects on planetary atmospheres.

Learn more about what the rockets are for on ELA's FAQ page


Most likely, you will not be able to see the rocket launches from Darwin or anywhere outside of East Arnhem Land. 

Will East Arnhem Land be rocket launch capital of Australia?

We hope so. Equatorial Launch Australia aims to launch over 50 rockets per year.

Can I visit the Arnhem Space Centre after the launches?

Not at the moment, but there are plans to open the Arnhem Space Centre to visitors in the future - watch this space!

What else can I do in East Arnhem Land?

East Arnhem Land is home to incredibly rich Aboriginal culture and offers visitors a chance to see one of Australia’s last unspoiled tropical paradises, a pristine coastline unknown to many, rich with biodiversity.

For more information on what to see and do in East Arnhem Land, please visit the Things to Do section of our website! 


If you have any further questions about visiting East Arnhem Land, you can contact us here

If you have any further questions about ELA or the rockets being launched in East Arnhem Land, you can contact ELA here