Space Commerce

South Australian mission prepares to lift off to space

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
Southern Launch
October 31, 2022
Filed under , , , , ,
South Australian mission prepares to lift off to space
southern launch
Southern Launch

Thursday 28 October, Four South Australian companies are putting the final touches on the VS03 mission that will launch a rocket and state-of-the-art payloads to space from South Australia before the end of the year.

Southern Launch, ATSpace, Asension and Inovor Technologies have collaborated on the mission which will see an ATSpace ‘Kestrel I’ rocket launched from the Southern Launch Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex in November. On board the rocket will be an Inovor Technologies spacecraft integrated with payloads designed by Asension and Southern Launch.

The ‘Kestrel I’ launch vehicle is a 10 metre, two stage, sub-orbital rocket. The rocket will launch from the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex and reach an altitude of over 200 kilometres above Earth. The trajectory of the launch will be over the Southern Ocean with the total time of flight approximately 10 minutes.

The Southern Launch payload will use existing satellite phone technology to track the rocket as it travels through space removing the need for traditional ground-based infrastructure. This mission will provide vital data to prove the capability of this ground-breaking technology and serves as a proof of concept for future product development.

During the time in flight, Southern Launch, Asension and Inovor Technologies will monitor their payload and test communication protocols. For Southern Launch and ATSpace, it will be another opportunity to gain further flight heritage for the ‘Kestrel I’ launch vehicle in preparation for future orbital launch attempts.

Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp says, ‘Southern Launch is proud to be launching this rocket on behalf of our customer ATSpace and providing access to space for Asension and Inovor Technologies to test their world-class technology. We are also excited to test our own payload capabilities in flight.’
‘The VS03 mission is incredibly exciting. It is a realisation of the incredible work and collaboration that is happening right here in South Australia and testament to our position as the space capital of Australia,’ Lloyd continues.

The Chief Executive Officer of ATSpace, Dr Yen-Sen Chen, expressed the significance of the launch in demonstrating the technical performance of the Kestrel I system.

‘This suborbital launch will provide us with valuable data to validate our future Kestrel V orbital design. Launching to space is a challenging task and well-planned test launches help us achieve technical maturity.’

Inovor Technologies founder and Chief Executive Officer Dr Matthew Tetlow says, ‘This is a terrific opportunity to demonstrate to the Australian Government and Department of Defence the sovereign space capabilities on offer right here in South Australia. It’s a great example of what’s possible when four companies like ours collaborate.’

Ian Spencer, CEO of Asension highlights the importance of Australian space launch capabilities. Ian says, ‘Having access to space from Australian soil is a game changer for our R&D efforts. This launch will accelerate the development of our technology in way that has not previously been possible. This means that we can provide greater sovereign capability sooner.’

The rocket will be launched from Southern Launch’s Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex near Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia.

Public viewing areas of the launch will be located at a safe distance from the launch facilities. Follow Southern Launch social media pages for the most up-to-date information

About Southern Launch

Southern Launch is an innovative space company providing launch services and bespoke rocket subsystems and designs to customers.

The Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex at the tip of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia supports orbital launches into the highly sought after polar and sun synchronous orbits. In addition to the Orbital Launch Complex, the company also operates the overland suborbital Koonibba Test Range near Ceduna.

Southern Launch is committed to providing Australia with a world-class orbital launch capability.

About ATSpace

ATSpace was founded in Australia in January 2021 and is the sister company to TiSPACE from Taiwan. Following support from the Global Australia program within the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, in November 2021 ATSpace opened its Australian rocket manufacturing facility in Wingfield, South Australia firmly integrating Australian supply chains and vendors into the manufacture of the Kestrel I and Kestrel V space launch vehicles. ATSpace was established in Australia to provide innovative and cost-effective space launch vehicles for dedicated and responsive launch services to the global space community with increasing commercial needs of placing nano-, micro- and small-satellites into the low Earth orbits (LEO). Currently, ATSpace is developing cost-effective space launch systems using proven, cutting-edge, non-explosive hybrid rocket propulsion technologies. Their hybrid rocket engines are delivering class-I rocket engine performance that enable fast turnaround space launch services.

About Inovor Technologies

Inovor Technologies is a leading space and defence technology company based in Adelaide, South Australia. The company provides turnkey spacecraft mission delivery services, as well as specialist engineering services in the electronic warfare domain.

Inovor has developed a family of small satellite buses, in both the cubesat (Apogee Bus) and smallsat (Australis Bus) classes. This technology can be used to build satellites across a range of sizes, and for most mission types, including space domain awareness, Earth imaging, communications, climate science, AgTech, scientific experimentation, etc. Inovor satellites are designed and manufactured in Australia. All intellectual property (IP), designs and know-how, related to both hardware and software, are Inovor developed and owned.

In addition to spacecraft bus development and manufacture for our customers, Inovor is developing two of its own missions; Hyperion is a space-based Space Domain Awareness mission; and Skyris is a “smart” Earth Imaging mission.

About Asension

Asension, formerly DEWC Systems, is an Australian Electronic Warfare (EW) technology company established to develop and deliver advanced systems that intelligently sense, collect and bind information in a sensor fusion, bridging the gap between information and knowledge to multiply force effectiveness in real time.

Media contact: Amy Featherston, Media and Communications Southern Launch, 0400 456 016

Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp is available for further comment or interview.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.