False start for first Australian private rocket launch

By on 16 September, 2020

Southern Launch’s DART rocket ahead of its launch attempt on Tuesday. Image: Luca Cetta, Great Lakes Advocate.

Misfire thwarts first commercial rocket launch on Australian soil at Southern Launch’s Koonibba facility.

A much-anticipated launch event, which would have been the first commercial payload to be launched from Australia, has failed.

South Australian launch services firm Southern Launch, who were partnered with satellite startup DEWC for the launch, said that the propellant of its DART rocket failed to ignite, leaving the rocket stranded on at the launch site.

The event took place on Southern Launch’s test range near Koonibba, in SA’s far west, located on Aboriginal land, the traditional lands of the Wirangu, Mirning, and Kokatha peoples.

A crowd of around 200 people had travelled to witness the spectacle, including local ABC reporters and Koonibba Aboriginal School students.

DEWC chief executive Ian Spencer told the ABC that though the misfire was disappointing, he was glad it was “out of the way”.

“I don’t think it’s a real rocket launch activity unless we have at least one failure to launch. Our mission will go ahead and I’m sure we’ll get a launch out of it this week,” he said.

Read the ABC’s full report of the event.

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