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Spaceport firm hires Ghost Bat ex-RAAF officer

written by Adam Thorn | June 11, 2024

Spaceport firm Equatorial Launch Australia has appointed a veteran ex-RAAF officer to oversee site operations at its Northern Territory launch facility.

Joshua Daish previously worked in operations management at the ADF’s legendary Woomera Test Range, where he participated in the first flight trials of Boeing’s Ghost Bat “loyal wingman” drone.

ELA group CEO Michael Jones hailed his new executive as “smart, hardworking, and very talented”.

“Joshua’s skills and knowledge of space, range and launch operations, as well as his 18 years of Royal Australian Air Force employment across multiple disciplines strengthens ELA’s executive talent by bringing additional operational aerospace expertise to the team as well as a deep understanding of space, aviation, safety management, and a broad technical base,” he said.

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Daish will split his time between being based in ELA’s HQ in Adelaide as well as travelling to ELA’s Arnhem Space Centre spaceport.

The news significantly comes months after ELA agreed a deal with a Singaporean rocket company for a series of sub-orbital launches later this year.

The arrangement with the similarly named Equatorial Space Systems (ESS) is initially an MOU but could lead to a fuller deal for the company to become a longer-term tenant blasting off orbital rockets.

The upcoming launches this year will use ESS’ Dorado rockets which will carry science experiments and technology demonstrator payloads.

However, it could lead to future and more regular, orbital blast-offs using the launch company’s Volans rockets that can carry a 500-kilogram payload.

Those launches are separate to a deal agreed last year with a Korean launch company to become ELA’s first long-term tenant.

Innospace will blast off “several” rocket variants, each carrying payloads of between 50 and 500 kilograms, into low-Earth orbit from early next year.

ELA is planning to eventually accommodate up to seven resident launchers initially, but the site has the potential to grow further.

To accommodate the expansion, the company recently unveiled both next-generation horizontal integration facilities and launch pads.

The “state of the art” launch pads can handle weights of up to 450,000 kilograms and feature an 80,000-litre water deluge system to reduce the adverse effects of rocket plumes.

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