Space Commerce

Southern Launch proud to partner with the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation to develop world-class spaceport

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
Southern Launch
April 17, 2023
Filed under ,
Southern Launch proud to partner with the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation to develop world-class spaceport
Members of the Koonibba community during the TED 3 campaign
Southern Launch

Southern Launch and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation will begin work on permanent world-class space facilities after the Federal Government awarded almost $4.5 million in funding to the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation.

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.

ABOUT THE KOONIBBA TEST RANGE

The Koonibba Test Range was developed by Southern Launch in collaboration with the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation and was Australia’s first licensed space launch facility.

The Koonibba Test Range extends out 145 kilometres and covers over 10,000km2 of uninhabited areas. The range provides commercial customers with the opportunity to launch and recover rocket and satellite technologies. This is a critical step for companies to validate their rocket and satellite technology before launching into space and eventually orbit Earth.

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 high-cadence 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 KOONIBBA

Koonibba is one of South Australia’s oldest mission-founded Aboriginal communities, with a history of more than 120 years. Located near Ceduna on the Eyre Peninsula, Koonibba is home to more than 150 people. Indigenous people of Wirangu, Kokatha and Mirning descent continue to live and practice culture on this land, maintaining traditions of utmost significance. With strong and close kinship, flourishing sporting teams and vibrant arts and music contributions, the community is proudly self-managed by the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation.

Media contact: Amy Featherston, Communications and Media Manager, 0400 456 016, [email protected]

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