24 August 2021
A newly licensed launch facility in South Australia has been granted regulatory approval for a commercial rocket launch to take place this year.
A test flight will be conducted by Taiwanese company tiSPACE of its Hapith I – a 10m, two-stage, sub-orbital rocket – from the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex, which is operated by Southern Launch.
Southern Launch and tiSPACE will drive the decision regarding the date for the launch in the coming months and tiSPACE is also considering whether to bring manufacturing of complete rocket systems to Australia.
Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said Australia is serious about growing its emerging launch industry and contribution to the global space sector.
“This is a significant milestone that will help pave the way for future commercial launches from Australia,” Mr Palermo said.
“We are passionate about growing a thriving space industry – one that can open doors for our national space sector to launch technologies from home and attract greater investment from international launch customers.”
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said, “This is an important outcome in establishing Australia’s commercial launch capability and demonstrating what our country can offer to the international space sector,”
“Space is a significant global growth market that will support Australia’s economic future through big investment, new technologies and job growth across multiple industries.”
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said the launch marked another significant milestone in the rapid development of Australia’s space capability.
“Australia has an opportunity to become a key player in the rapidly expanding global space launch market, which will bring investment, jobs and innovation to our nation,” Mr Tehan said.
Initially the Whalers Way launch site will support a test launch campaign for up to three suborbital rockets. During these launches data will be collected to measure environmental impacts to assist in determining the site’s viability as a possible launch location for future suborbital and orbital launches.
The Morrison Government has invested more than $700 million in the civil space sector since 2018. This forms as part of its plan to grow the sector to $12 billion and add another 20,000 jobs by 2030.
Access to Space is one of seven National Civil Space Priority Areas set out in the Advancing Space: Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028. This is set to be supported by a technical roadmap exploring the future of Australia’s launch market, with the intention being to continue growing a thriving and globally respected space sector.