Australia’s first commercial rocket launches successfully

By on 22 September, 2020

One of two Southern Launch/DEWC DART rockets taking off over farmlands near Koonibba, SA on Saturday September 19, 2020. Image supplied.

After a thwarted first attempt, the first commercial Australian rocket has been successfully launched into space from the community of Koonibba, South Australia.

Southern Launch successfully launched two of its 3.4 metre, 34 kilogram DART rockets on the morning of Saturday September 19, following a highly publicised unsuccessful attempt the Tuesday prior.

The sensor payload for DEWC systems was deployed to the edge of space at 65 km altitude, which continued along with the DART fuselage to an altitude of 85km, carrying out its sensing mission on its way back to Earth, at a planned 95 km of the launch point at Koonibba.

The launch was part of the Air Force’s Project Jericho, testing technologies for rapidly deployable, networked sensors can enhance Defence information gathering and communications networks, according to Defence Minister Lisa Reynolds.

“Air Force’s Plan Jericho has sponsored this prototype, developed by DEWC Systems, and marks an exciting future for Australia’s space capability. The rocket is unlike any rocket ever launched in Australia, and is part of what is known as ‘New Space’ technologies – small rockets carrying reduced sized satellites using commercially available technologies,” she said.

“As space is becoming more congested and contested, the Government is investing $7 billion over the next decade in space capabilities as part of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan.”

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