December 1, 2022

SA rocket gets the finishing touches

Four South Australian companies are putting the finishing touches on the VS03 mission which will launch a state-of-the-art rocket and payloads into 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. Aboard the rocket will be an Inovor Technologies spacecraft integrated with payloads designed by Asension and Southern Launch.

The “Kestrel I” launcher is a 10-meter two-stage suborbital rocket. The rocket will launch from the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex and reach an altitude of more than 200 kilometers above Earth. The launch trajectory will be over the Southern Ocean with a total flight time of approximately 10 minutes.

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

During flight time, Southern Launch, Asension and Inovor Technologies will monitor their payload and test communication protocols. For Southern Launch and ATSpace, this will be another opportunity to acquire additional flight heritage for the “Kestrel I” launch vehicle for future orbital launch attempts.

“Southern Launch is proud to launch this rocket on behalf of our customer ATSpace and provide 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,” Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp said.

“The VS03 mission is incredibly exciting. It is a realization of the incredible work and collaboration taking place right here in South Australia and a testament to our position as the space capital of Australia,” Lloyd said.

“This suborbital launch will provide us with valuable data to validate our future Kestrel V orbital design. Launching into space is a challenging task and well-planned test launches help us reach technical maturity,” said the CEO of ATSpace, Dr. Yen-Sen Chen.

This is a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate to the Australian Government and Department of Defense 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 work together,” said Inovor Technologies Founder and CEO Dr. Matthew Tetlow.

“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 a way that was not possible before. This means we can deliver more sovereign capacity sooner,” said Ian Spencer, CEO of Asension.

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