Rocket manufacturer ATSpace will launch two experimental rockets into sub-orbital space to test their design and collect noise data on the ground.
It follows three failed attempts last year for what would have been the first commercial lift-off from Southern Launch’s Orbital Launch Complex.
The business hopes the site will be the first permanent rocket launch facility when complete and believes it can one day be “on a par” with Cape Canaveral.
On Wednesday, Southern Launch announced that ATSpace had been granted approval for two missions, dubbed VS02 and VS03.
The Kestrel I rockets will fly into sub-orbital trajectories for testing purposes under several operating conditions.
The research team will also collect noise data to aid Southern Launch in the planning of future launch operations at Whalers Way.
Southern Launch's CEO, Lloyd Damp, emphasised the significance of the data the teams will collect.
“The VS02 and VS03 launches will provide a significant amount of data that will be used to inform best practice during future launch campaigns and the development of South Australia’s space industry,” he said.
The chief executive officer of ATSpace, Dr YenSen Chen, echoed Damp’s sentiments, “These two sub-orbital launches will provide us with valuable data to validate our future Kestrel V orbital design. They are the gateway to ATSpace’s growth and future investment in Australia and jobs for Australians.
“Launching into space is a challenging task for any launch vehicle company. It’s only possible to attain the technical maturity through well-planned test launches. VS02 and VS03 are part of the equation for us to reach that status.”
The combined project, led by ATSpace and Southern Launch, has been heavily supported by the South Australian government as well as the global Australia trade program within the Australian Trade and Investment Commission.
Whalers Way is on the tip of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, south of Port Lincoln.
Liam McAneny is a journalist who has written and edited for his University International Relations journal. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Wollongong in 2021. He joined Momentum Media in 2022 and currently writes for SpaceConnect and Australian Aviation. Liam has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations as well as astronomy.
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