Manufacturing News, South Australia, Space Manufacturing

South Australia’s first spaceport preps for inaugural launch

New launch facilities at the Koonibba Test Range, South Australia’s first permanent spaceport, are almost complete ahead of the impending launch.

Located northwest of Ceduna, the range is a partnership between Southern Launch and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation.

Southern launch said the range is the largest commercial testing range in the Southern Hemisphere.

The new facilities will help to provide local employment, investment and educational opportunities for members of the local Koonibba community, as well as the wider Eyre Peninsula.

Space Industries minister Susan Close visited the site ahead of the sub-orbital test launch of German manufacturer HyImpulse’s SR75 rocket, which, subject to final regulatory approval, will go ahead at the end of April or early May.

“This marks a pivotal moment for South Australia’s space industry, facilitating the launch of remarkable missions, welcoming space returns and serving as a crucial testing ground for local and global space pioneers to advance their technologies,” said Close.

The rocket will reach an altitude of 50 kilometres before parachuting back to Earth where it will be recovered for testing.

The launch will test HyImpulse’s hybrid propulsion technology which combines paraffin wax and liquid oxygen.

Southern Launch and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation have been working since 2017 to develop the range.

Southern Launch chief executive officer Lloyd Damp said, “We are incredibly proud of our partnership with the Koonibba community to construct permanent facilities at the Koonibba Test Range that will bring wide-ranging benefits to the local community and to the Australian space industry.”

The partnership will see the development of an Astronomical Centre and Observatory, with the range expected to attract both tourists and global space companies, contributing more than $500,000 annually to the Koonibba community.

Geraldine Ware, chair, Koonibba community Aboriginal corporation said, “Partnering with Southern Launch to develop these permanent facilities on our land secures our future as a community and provides an industry to support and inspire our people.”

South Australian steel company Ferretti International and hydraulic engineers Hydroil manufactured the transportable rocket launcher being used for the test.

The Koonibba Test Range provides local and international space companies with the unique ability to launch and land on the same range facility, enabling them to recover their technologies and analyse system performance.

Send this to a friend