Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp says, 'This funding will enable us to work with the Koonibba community to develop world-class space facilities that secure a high-tech future for the community. The Koonibba Test Range brings a global industry to South Australia's doorstep and we're excited about the opportunities this will bring to the community through employment, investment and inspiration.'
The Koonibba Test Range is jointly operated by Southern Launch and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation and is one of the largest commercial rocket testing facilities in the world. The range is Australia's first licensed space launch facility and has a long list of local and international customers ready to use the range to launch and accept re-entries of ground-breaking space technology.
Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation Chief Executive Corey McLennan says, 'The partnership we have had with Southern Launch over the past few years has been tremendous for our community through investment and employment opportunities. We are looking forward to what this next chapter will bring and excited to inspire our community with the world of opportunities available to them when space is right on our doorstep.'
The Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation will also use a portion of the funds to develop an observatory on Koonibba lands. Corporation Chief Executive Corey McLennan says, 'This observatory will combine our rich stargazing history as First Nations people with the ground-breaking space exploration happening from our lands. We hope the observatory will be a drawcard for every launch from the facility and must-see destination as people travel across Australia.'
Frequent launches from the facility will provide direct employment for more than 30 community members and generate significant revenue for the community through tourism, launch support and construction.
The establishment of permanent space launch facilities in Koonibba Test Range puts the Eyre Peninsula on the map as the space capital of Australia. Lloyd says, 'The positive collaboration we have had with the Koonibba community in establishing the Koonibba Test Range is a testament to what can be achieved when local stakeholders, commercial enterprises and government work together. We are excited to follow this blueprint as we look to establish permanent facilities at our Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex and bring even more investment to the Eyre Peninsula.'
Plans for the permanent facilities are currently with the local council for approval. Southern Launch and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation hope that works can begin in the second half of 2023. A number of missions are contracted to launch from the Koonibba Test Range later this year and in 2024.
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