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Australian-built rocket launch aborted due to technical issues

The inaugural launch of Black Sky Aerospace’s sounding rocket was aborted over the weekend due to technical issues.

Australian-built rocket launch aborted due to technical issues
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The launch, considered the testbed for Australia’s first sovereign designed and built space vehicles, was scheduled to blast off on Saturday from Goondiwindi, along the NSW-Queensland border.

However, strong winds forced the launch to be delayed for 24 hours.

The launch was eventually aborted on Sunday due to unspecified technical issues. Another test launch is expected to take place in the coming weeks, after the necessary approvals are secured.

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The test was expected to see the Queensland-based start-up’s rocket soar to 35,000 feet within 38 seconds, before parachuting back to the ground. The rocket is expected to reach speeds nearly twice the speed of sound.

The entire test, from launch to touch-down, is expected to take four minutes.

The launch forms one part of the lead-up test and evaluation series, as Black Sky Aerospace prepares to send Australian designed and built vehicles into space in 2022.

“This will be the first in a series of four launches that will see Black Sky fly the first complete sovereign made vehicle, from the rocket fuel itself, the avionics, electronics and airframe and component launching into space, in 2022,” Blake Nikolic, CEO of Black Sky Aerospace, told the Daily Telegraph.

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It comes just days after another key Australian launch was similarly aborted.

On Thursday, the third attempt at the first commercial launch from Whalers Way in South Australia was aborted after the rocket launcher caught on fire during ignition.

At 4:09pm ACST on 16 September, Southern Launch and Taiwan Innovative Space (tiSPACE) attempted to launch the Hapith I rocket from the newly licensed test site for the third time.

“During ignition, the launch vehicle suffered an internal fault causing the vehicle to catch alight,” Southern Launch said in a tweet.

“The fire was contained to the launch pad and was attended to by the South Australian Country Fire Service, who were onsite.”

It marks the third unsuccessful attempt to launch within a week, with the company’s previous attempts similarly plagued by bad weather conditions and system failures.

Southern Launch has not confirmed a date for its next attempt, however its launch window is still open until 23 September.

The business is set for three more launches this year, which will test whether the Whalers Way site is viable for future suborbital launches.

Hannah Dowling

Hannah Dowling

Writer – Defence and Aerospace, Momentum Media

Hannah joined Momentum as a journalist in 2019, and has since written breaking news stories across a diverse range of corporate industries, including finance, real estate, investments and aviation. She has a keen interest in the global aviation sector, with a particualy focus on improving overall individual wellbeing across the aerospace industry.

Hannah graduated from Macquarie University in Sydney Australia with a Bachelor of Media (Journalism) and is currently pursuing postgraduate studies.

Send Hannah an email at [email protected] or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn.

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