• The Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex is located on the tip of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. (Southern Launch)
    The Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex is located on the tip of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. (Southern Launch)

The government has given regulatory approval for a commercial rocket launch to take place later this year from Southern Launch's newly licensed launch facility in South Australia.

Taiwanese company tiSPACE will conduct a test flight of its Hapith I – a 10m, two-stage, sub-orbital rocket – from the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex.

The date for the launch will be determined by tiSPACE and Southern Launch in the coming months. tiSPACE is also currently considering bringing manufacturing of complete rocket systems to Australia.

The Whalers Way launch site will initially support a test launch campaign for up to three suborbital rockets. Data will be collected during those launches to measure environmental impacts to assist in determining the site’s viability as a possible launch location for future suborbital and orbital launches.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said approval of the launch permit will 'help position Australia as a future launch destination'.

“This is an important outcome in establishing Australia’s commercial launch capability and demonstrating what our country can offer to the international space sector,” Minister Porter said.

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,” Tehan said.

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,” 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.”

ADM Comment: Despite the positive language from the Ministers and the ASA around the approval of this launch, ADM understands there is dissatisfaction within Australia's private space launch sector around the government and ASA's performance in providing launch licenses, as well as the lack of public funding available to expand domestic launch capabilities.

More on this will be available in the upcoming September print edition of ADM

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