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South Australia’s first permanent spaceport is getting ready for launch

Posted March 27, 2024

New launch facilities at the Koonibba Test Range, South Australia’s first permanent spaceport, are almost complete ahead of the impending inaugural launch.

Located northwest of Ceduna, the range is a partnership between Southern Launch and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation. It is the largest commercial testing range in the Southern Hemisphere.

Space Industries Minister Susan Close is today visiting the site ahead of the sub-orbital test launch of German manufacturer HyImpulse’s SR75 rocket, which, subject to final regulatory approval, will go ahead at the end of April or early May.

The rocket will reach an altitude of 50 kilometres before parachuting back to Earth where it will be recovered for testing.

The launch will test HyImpulse’s hybrid propulsion technology which combines paraffin wax and liquid oxygen – a non-explosive fuel that revolutionises rocket handling and logistics.

Southern Launch and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation have been working since 2017 to develop the range.

The new facilities will help to provide local employment, investment and educational opportunities for members of the local Koonibba community, as well as the wider Eyre Peninsula.

The partnership will also see the development of an Astronomical Centre and Observatory, with the range expected to attract both tourists and global space companies, contributing more than $500,000 annually to the Koonibba community.

South Australian steel company Ferretti International and hydraulic engineers Hydroil manufactured the transportable rocket launcher being used for the test.
The Koonibba Test Range provides local and international space companies with the unique ability to launch and land on the same range facility, enabling them to recover their technologies and analyse system performance.

It enables sub-orbital missions to the edge of space to conduct experiments and the range is capable of supporting re-entry of space technology from orbit.

Read the full press release here.

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