Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has stopped at Darwin on his way home from Indonesia to announce the first ever rocket launches from the Arnhem Space Centre.
The three NASA rockets, which are around 13 metres long, will be launched from the space station in East Arnhem Land between June 26 and July 12, Mr Albanese told media in Darwin on Wednesday morning.
He was joined by Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic as well as Chief Minister Natasha Fyles, Member for Solomon Luke Gosling, newly-elected Member for Lingiari Marion Scrymgour and NT Senator and newly-appointed Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians and Indigenous Health Malarndirri McCarthy.
"These three launches are important for universities to do scientific research," Mr Albanese said.
"These rockets will go some 250 kilometres north into the sky and collect data on the physics of the sun and its relationship with the earth."
He said the rocket launches were a demonstration of the new federal government's commitment to scientific innovation.
"This is about not just the rocket launch itself, but it's about sending a message to younger Australians and indeed, Australians of any age we might be looking at retraining for future careers, of how important science is," he said.
"We want the next generation to really look at STEM as part of Australia's future."
The centre is located on the Dhupuma Plateau just outside Nhulunbuy.
"A lot of work is being done as well with the Gumatj Corporation around the Nhulunbuy area as well to ensure there's economic benefit for Traditional Owners," Mr Albanese said.
Equatorial launch Australia, which owns the space centre, General Manager Russel Shaw said the company plans to develop the space centre to be able to do 50 rocket launches per year.
He said this launch would provide data for researchers at the Universities of Colorado and Wisconsin in the US.
"[The] will be focusing on some astrophysics studies into Alpha Centauri A and B and the X rays coming from interstellar space," he said.
"We think that this will be a terrific opportunity to learn more about humankind, and we see it as again a fantastic opportunity for Australia to showcase its capability."
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Mr Shaw said the rockets will be visible to people on the ground in East Arnhem Land for around 10 seconds after they are launched before they head into space.
Mr Albanese also addressed the issue of low voter turnout in the electorate of Lingiari, which is the lowest in the country at around 66 per cent.
"There was a deliberate policy of the former government to restrict people voting in the Territory," he said.
"My government will look at what we can do to make sure that every Australian...no matter where they live, no matter who they are, has equal rights to be on the roll and equal right to vote and yes, we will be reviewing it with the AEC."
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