In a historic announcement the Koonibba Test Range, developed by Southern Launch with strong support and involvement from the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation, has been approved to host rocket launches to space.
Australia’s first ever Launch Facility Licence was signed by the Hon Karen Andrews MP Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology after Southern Launch completed the licensing process through the Australian Space Agency, which in January 2021 welcomed its new Head, Mr Enrico Palermo.
The Koonibba Test Range is situated 40 kilometres north-west of Ceduna in South Australia’s Far West Coast and was where on the 19th of September 2020 Southern Launch sent two space-capable rockets to the edge of space, permitted under a CASA license. This new facility is set to transform the local area into a vibrant space hub and will attract space industry related jobs and growth to the area.
Corey McLennan, CEO of the Koonibba Community said, “Our community has already seen the benefits of our relationship with Southern Launch. Our kids cannot stop talking about studying STEM courses at university and one day returning to Koonibba to be part of Australia’s space future. Our entire Aboriginal community is very proud to be directly involved in the development of the Koonibba Test Range and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Southern Launch.”
“Southern Launch is so excited by this development, and with the Koonibba Test Range licensed to launch rockets into space and recover the payloads in the uninhabited desert to the north, we are ready to provide a unique service to both domestic and international customers. All the hard work done by Southern Launch and the Koonibba community over the past three years has paid off.” said Mr Lloyd Damp, CEO of Southern Launch.
Operations at the Koonibba Test Range are providing employment and increased business opportunities for the local communities in Koonibba, Ceduna and greater Eyre Peninsula through the creation of a New Space economy in the area. Southern Launch is providing training and development courses to upskill the local Koonibba community members to further integrate the First Nation’s community into Australia’s return to the stars.