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Finishing touches for South Australia's first permanent spaceport ahead of Inaugural Launch
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Finishing touches for South Australia's first permanent spaceport ahead of Inaugural Launch
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Apr 01, 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. Quotes attributable to Susan Close

Having permanent facilities at the Koonibba Test Range helps brings together South Australian space companies and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation to develop a spaceport that we can be proud of.

This marks a pivotal moment for South Australia's space industry, facilitating the launch of remarkable missions, welcoming space returns and serving as a crucial testing ground for local and global space pioneers to advance their technologies. Through the partnership between Southern Launch and the Koonibba community, ground-breaking space exploration is set to unfold that will benefit the community for years to come.

Quotes attributable to Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp

We are incredibly proud of our partnership with the Koonibba community to construct permanent facilities at the Koonibba Test Range that will bring wide-ranging benefits to the local community and to the Australian space industry.

The permanent, world-class facilities at the Koonibba Test Range will put Australia on the map as a space-faring nation. We have a long list of global customers ready to use the range and we're excited about the incredible opportunities this presents for Koonibba and South Australia.

HyImpulse are pioneering the development of new rocket technology and we are excited to assist with their maiden launch - the first from our permanent facilities. Attributable to Geraldine Ware, Chair, Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation

This is an exciting time for the Koonibba Community and the Ceduna region as a whole. This will be the first launch from our new permanent facilities and we are all excited to see our planning become a reality.

Partnering with Southern Launch to develop these permanent facilities on our land secures our future as a community and provides an industry to support and inspire our people.

The Koonibba Test Range brings wide-ranging benefits to our people from investment, employment through to inspiring our children and young people to pursue careers that could be out of this world!

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