World news – AU – Australia’s first private space rocket blasts off from far west SA Aboriginal community


Australia’s first commercial, space-capable rocket has blasted off from the Koonibba test range on South Australia’s far-west coast.

Southern Launch said today’s launch aimed to reach 85 kilometres, which would make it the highest any commercial rocket had reached from Australian soil.

It was the second attempt to launch the 3.4-metre long, 34-kilogram rocket after the first on Tuesday misfired.

The launch occurred without the politicians and 200 Koonibba Aboriginal community members who attended Tuesday’s launch.

DEWC, a company boasting a « passion » for electronic warfare, has teamed up with Southern Launch to test launching processes.

DEWC is developing satellites that will be capable of helping the Australian Defence Force detect potentially dangerous radar signals from enemy forces.

The payload’s purpose is to collect information with its built-in sensors on its journey back to Earth to assist with DEWC’s development of satellite technology.

Federal Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said the launch forms part of the Royal Australian Air Force’s Plan Jericho advanced sensing program to detect and track challenging targets.

« 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.

On Tuesday, SA Premier Steven Marshall said the rocket launch was the first commercial one in Australia.

« All of the previous launches have been government launches, so it is a historic time and I think this is really a taste of what’s to come in Australia, » he said.

This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)


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