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Southern Launch VS02 mission scrubbed on launch pad

Southern Launch yesterday was forced to scrub its VS02 mission while the Kestrel I rocket was on the launch pad.

The rocket suffered from a leak during the oxidiser filling process while it was on the launch pad, causing launch preparations to be put on hold.

Following a closer examination, the Southern Launch team determined that the launch would need to be postponed.

Southern Launch and their team have wasted no time, however, moving straight on to preparations for the launch of the VS03 mission.


The launch campaign window for the VS03 mission is open until the 20th of December, at which point the window will close and end the prospects of launch for the year.

Chief executive officer (CEO) of Southern Launch Lloyd Damp spoke about the situation in the coming days.

“We are incredibly excited that we still have the opportunity to launch the VS03 mission before the end of the year,” Damp said.

Dr YenSen Chen, the CEO of ATSpace, Southern Launch’s partner for the missions, also commented on the scrubbed launch.


“Launching to space is a challenging task. The VS03 mission is another chance for us to test our systems to achieve technical maturity.”

The exact timing of the VS03 launch has not been confirmed yet, but Southern Launch says that they will release that information in the coming days.

The postponement of the VS02 mission is the latest in a string of delays for the South Australian launch company, with a recent launch attempt cancelled in November due to “unprecedented” lightning strikes at the launch facility.

Over 420,000 lightning strikes were recorded during severe thunderstorms at the Eyre Peninsula, where the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex is located.

These delays followed several missions that were postponed or cancelled over the last two years.

Despite the setbacks, Damp remained positive about the company’s mission to launch rockets from their facility soon.

“Even though we’ve had a few launch outcomes that weren’t what we had hoped for, we have still learned a lot.

“We still approach every single launch with the utmost respect and preparation.”

“You have to hope for the best but plan for the worst,” he said.

The team is still hoping to achieve successful launch before the end of the year. This would be a massive milestone not just for Southern Launch, but also for ATSpace, Inovor Technologies and Asension.

The VS03 mission will involve the launch of an ATSpace Kestrel I rocket that will be carrying an Inovor spacecraft that integrates payloads designed by Asension and Southern Launch.

Liam McAneny

Liam McAneny

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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