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Equatorial Launch Australia unveils advanced horizontal integration facility
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Equatorial Launch Australia unveils advanced horizontal integration facility
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Jan 24, 2024

Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) has unveiled the completed designs for its Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) buildings at the Arnhem Space Centre (ASC). These state-of-the-art facilities are tailored to meet the sophisticated demands of up to seven rocket launch companies, solidifying ELA's commitment to supporting a broad spectrum of space missions.

The newly designed HIF buildings, with dimensions of 40m in length, 26m in width, and 12m in height, are not just expansive but also incorporate advanced features specific to space missions. This development is a testament to ELA's dedication to providing launch vehicle companies and satellite payload manufacturers with top-tier facilities to ensure mission success.

Michael Jones, Executive Chairman and Group CEO of ELA, expressed his excitement about this milestone: "The public release of our completed HIF designs at the Arnhem Space Centre is another major milestone for ELA, and we are incredibly excited to be able to share these designs with our current and future customers and with the wider space industry." Jones emphasized the world-leading quality of their facilities and services, underscoring ELA's vision to offer a best-in-class experience.

This announcement follows the release of ELA's ASCALP launch pad designs in December 2023, completing the Space Launch Complex (SLC) concept - a comprehensive area designated for preparatory work prior to and including lift-off at the spaceport. Each SLC is set to include up to two launch pads and one HIF building for each launch company.

Jones highlighted the innovative approach behind the design: "The SLC concept and the HIF design is far more detailed and complex than first meets the eye and will set the standard for launch operations." He mentioned the extensive research and discussions with customers that shaped these innovative designs, including a high-clearance ISO 8 cleanroom, which exemplifies the meticulous attention to detail in the facility's design.

The HIF's standard configuration is designed for modularity and flexibility, aiming to surpass the requirements of most launch vehicle providers. Notable features of each HIF include a large rocket assembly area, a high-clearance ISO 8 cleanroom for vertical payload integration, a full-space overhead gantry crane, an indoor workshop space, a multi-port wall membrane for direct access to launch pad equipment, administrative and personnel areas, and large clearance roller doors. The buildings also boast substantial insulation, HVAC climate control, and cyclone rating to withstand the harsh Northern Territory environment. Advanced security measures, including cameras and digital access control, further enhance the facility's safety and functionality.

ELA's approach to understanding the individual needs of its clients is evident in the design and functionality of the HIF. The company's extensive research and visits to key global spaceports reflect their commitment to providing a 'home away from home' for their customers' launch operations. Jones' vision for ELA as the spaceport partner of choice focuses on giving customers the best chance of repeated successful missions.

In addition to functionality and cost-effectiveness, aesthetics also play a significant role in the HIF designs. Jones noted, "We wanted more than a 'Colorbond box' or a just hangar," pointing out the edgy architectural elements and the effort to harmonize the buildings with the Northern Territory environment through landscaping and vegetation.

ELA's Arnhem Space Centre, located in East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia, benefits from its proximity to the equator, offering operational freedom and simplicity for diverse space orbits. This recent development in the HIF designs reinforces ELA's mission to be a leading multi-user commercial space launch company, providing world-class launch services for testing, launching, and recovering space vehicles and payloads.

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