The mission will see an ATSpace Kestrel I rocket launch from the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex, run by Southern Launch, later this month.
Onboard the Kestrel I rocket will be a spacecraft designed and constructed by Inovor which will integrate two payloads designed by Southern Launch and Asension.
The launch vehicle, the Kestrel I, is a 10-metre, two-stage, sub-orbital rocket. Its launch will see the rocket reach an altitude of 200 kilometres above Earth at the peak of its 10-minute flight time.
Launching from the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex located on the tip of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, the rocket’s trajectory will take it over the southern ocean.
Ian Spencer, CEO of Asension, highlighted the importance of having access to a local launch site.
“Having access to space from Australian soil is a game changer for our R&D efforts. This launch will accelerate the development of our technology in [a] way that has not previously been possible. This means that we can provide greater sovereign capability sooner.”
Throughout the mission, the rocket will be tracked by ordinary satellite phone technology. This aspect of the mission is vital to proving the capability of this tracking system and will serve as proof of concept for the ongoing development of the technology.
By using satellite phone technology to track the rocket, the team is eliminating the need for expensive ground-based communication infrastructure. One of the key goals of this launch is to collect a range of data that will help to refine the technology.
The CEO of Southern Launch, Lloyd Damp, spoke about the upcoming launch.
“The VS03 mission is incredibly exciting. It is a realisation of the incredible work and collaboration that is happening right here in South Australia and testament to our position as the space capital of Australia.”
ATSpace CEO Dr YenSen Chen also commented on the importance of the mission to the company’s ongoing development of the Kestrel rocket.
“This suborbital launch will provide us with valuable data to validate our future Kestrel V orbital design. Launching to space is a challenging task and well-planned test launches help us achieve technical maturity.”
The collaborative project is also a positive sign for the growing South Australian space industry, a sentiment echoed by Inovor’s founder and CEO, Dr Matthew Tetlow.
“This is a terrific opportunity to demonstrate to the Australian government and Department of Defence the sovereign space capabilities on offer right here in South Australia. It’s a great example of what’s possible when four companies like ours collaborate,” said Tetlow.
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.
Send Liam an email at: [email protected]
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