NewSpace Prepares for Lift-Off in South Australia

Two South Australian companies are joining forces to launch Australia’s first space capable rocket from the outback next month.

Southern Launch will host the September 15 launch at its Koonibba Test Range (KTR) 40km northwest of Ceduna in the far west of South Australia on land leased from the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation.

Launched northwards, the rocket will carry a small payload into the thermosphere where it will be released from the rocket to fall gently back to earth under a parachute where DEWC Systems, escorted by a local Aboriginal Cultural Monitor, will recover and examine it.

The rocket itself will be unlike any rocket ever launched in Australia. Designed and built in the Netherlands by T-Minus Engineering, the DART rocket will weigh only 34kg, have one rocket engine, yet will have two rocket stages.

The rocket will burn out of fuel 6 seconds after lift-off and be travelling at Mach 5, or approximately 1.5 kilometres per second.

The launch also marks the start of NewSpace launches from Australia.

“This event is more than just Australia’s first launch, but a testament to Australian companies coming together with our international partners to push the boundaries of the conceivable and inspire future generations to be spacefarers,” Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp said.

Southern Launch will host the September 15 launch at its Koonibba Test Range (KTR) 40km northwest of Ceduna in the far west of South Australia on land leased from the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation.

Launched northwards, the rocket will carry a small payload into the thermosphere where it will be released from the rocket to fall gently back to earth under a parachute where DEWC Systems, escorted by a local Aboriginal Cultural Monitor, will recover and examine it.

The rocket itself will be unlike any rocket ever launched in Australia. Designed and built in the Netherlands by T-Minus Engineering, the DART rocket will weigh only 34kg, have one rocket engine, yet will have two rocket stages.

The rocket will burn out of fuel 6 seconds after lift-off and be travelling at Mach 5, or approximately 1.5 kilometres per second.

The launch also marks the start of NewSpace launches from Australia.

“This event is more than just Australia’s first launch, but a testament to Australian companies coming together with our international partners to push the boundaries of the conceivable and inspire future generations to be spacefarers,” Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp said.

Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation chief executive officer Corey McLennan said the corporation had been actively engaged with Southern Launch throughout the process and was excited that the venture had come to fruition.

“Our people continue to have a strong connection with the land, the sea and the sky, so with Southern Launch developing a rocket test range on our lands, we are excited to develop a partnership role in developing Australia’s space future,” he said.

South Australia’s history of rocket launches dates back to the 1950s when US, British, European and Australian scientists launched dozens of long-range missiles and sounding rockets from ranges in Woomera, north of the new launching site.

Next month’s Koonibba launch will also be a significant milestone in South Australia’s leadership of the Australian space industry, which has gained significant momentum since it was announced Adelaide would host the new Australian Space Agency in 2018.

South Australia is also home to major Tier 1 defence companies and several emerging space startups, including Fleet Space Technologies, Inovor Technologies and Myriota, which have all announced new IoT initiatives in the past year.

Southern Launch is also building a rocket launchpad on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.

The 1190-hectare Whaler’s Way site is about a 35-minute drive from the regional town of Port Lincoln and will be used for launching small satellites over the Great Australian Bight into sun-synchronous or polar orbit.

Source: NewSpace
Date: Aug 26, 2020