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HyImpulse set for more Koonibba blast-offs

Rocket manufacturer HyImpulse intends to sign up for more sub-orbital blast-offs from Southern Launch’s Koonibba Test Range in South Australia.

A new MOU between the businesses also opens up the possibility of future orbital launches from the Australian company’s separate Whalers Way site.

It comes after HyImpulse’s first launch of its SR75 rocket at Koonibba in May was hailed a success, in a landmark moment for Australia’s space sector. The mission was significantly the first since the site, in Ceduna, South Australia, was upgraded to become a permanent launch facility.

Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp said, “Thanks to Southern Launch’s overland test range at Koonibba, the team from HyImpulse were able to recover their rocket to understand the performance of the vehicle.


“Being able to recover the rocket means the HyImpulse team has vital information at their fingertips rather than at the bottom of the ocean, which is what differentiates the Koonibba Test Range from most other test ranges around the world.”

The facility is designed to test rockets and payloads by blasting them into sub-orbital space before they return to Earth on the same location.

It’s uniquely a joint venture between the launch firm and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation.

It differs from Southern Launch’s more traditional Whalers Way Complex at the tip of the Eyre Peninsula, which specialises in orbital launches over the sea.


Mario Kobald, HyImpulse’s co-CEO, hailed May’s first lift-off as a “huge milestone” in the development of his company.

“It marks the beginning of our commercial operations and highlights the capabilities of our team and technology,” he said.

The rocket that blasted off, meanwhile, was unique because it was propelled by “greener” paraffin wax – or candle wax – and liquid oxygen, a non-explosive fuel.

HyImpulse hopes to use the initial “Light This Candle” mission and subsequent tests to help it develop its larger SL1 Orbital Launcher, which could one day blast-off from Whalers Way.

The news of future launches follows last year’s announcement that the federal government would issue a $4.5 million grant for the range’s upgrade.

Southern Launch previously said it already has several missions set to launch from the site, including the ReFEx mission with the German Space Agency (DLR).

The company also signed an MOU with UK-based Space Forge to use the Koonibba Test Range as a re-entry point for their spacecraft, alongside a separate deal to use it as a re-entry point for a capsule undertaking pioneering medical treatments in space.

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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