Chippie gets a stellar job

Headshot of Geoff Vivian
Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
Aaron "AJ" Da Silva is site supervisor at Capricorn Space's new commercial satellite tracking facility near Mingenew.
Camera IconAaron "AJ" Da Silva is site supervisor at Capricorn Space's new commercial satellite tracking facility near Mingenew. Credit: Supplied/Aaron Da Silva

This time last year he was a Geraldton chippie — now he is managing Australia’s newest space station.

“It’s an awesome job and they put a lot of faith in me which is great,” Aaron “AJ” Da Silva said.

Mr Da Silva was employed by Geraldton builder Peter Willoughby, who was contracted to put up the Capricorn Space Station near Mingenew last year.

The Melbourne company offers commercial satellite tracking services to national and international clients.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


“I guess they liked my work ethic when I put the satellite dishes up,” he said.

“I am still doing the building side of it but they get me to keep an eye on the gear and if they have any dramas I’ve got to open the cabinet and turn the switches on and off. They can lock themselves out over east, so sometimes I’ve got to walk through some programming and get things running for them.”

Mr Da Silva, 38, said he had been in the building industry since he was apprenticed at 16.

“I deal with all the trades coming through and handle things myself,” he said.

“I have got control of the dishes, and if need be I have been shown how to manoeuvre the dishes.

“It is very simple but blows my mind that I’m able to do that.”

Capricorn Space chief executive Mark Thompson said the company chose the location because it was in a radio “quiet zone” designated by the Department of Communications for satellite communications

“We have employed many contractors and sourced and hired multiple items of equipment from Geraldton and the region,” he said.

“Capricorn Space is proud and extremely pleased to report that our first site near Mingenew in WA is now operational and currently on-boarding clients,” he said. The Capricorn Space Station will have an official opening ceremony on Tuesday, December 10.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails