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HyImpulse launches from Southern Launch’s Koonibba range

Heilbronn-based German rocket manufacturer HyImpulse has successfully conducted the maiden launch of its SR75 rocket from Southern Launch’s Koonibba Test Range in South Australia in a milestone achievement for commercial launch capabilities in Australia.

The single-stage SR75 rocket, which reached an altitude of 50km, is one of the largest commercially launched rockets in Australian history. It is intended to launch microgravity experiments and be used as a rocket booster.

The SR75 rocket launched and landed within the Koonibba Test Range enabling HyImpulse to recover it and analyse the performance from onboard systems, something not possible from any other commercial ranges.

The launch was designed to test HyImpulse’s unique propulsion technology which combines paraffin wax (candle wax) and liquid oxygen. The maiden launch of the SR75 has flight-qualified the propulsion technology and fuel and is a cornerstone in the development of HyImpulse’s orbital vehicle, the SL1. This is designed to carry a 600kg payload into Low earth Orbit (LEO) and its first launch is scheduled for late-2025.

The SR75-1 mission was the first ever to use this innovative hybrid rocket engine which is non-explosive and offers a greener alternative to traditional rocket fuels – a potential game-changer for the space industry. It was also the first launch of a commercially viable German launch vehicle.

The mission was the first launch from the permanent facilities established at the Koonibba Test Range by Southern Launch and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation. The launch used the launch pad and mid-range launch rail which was designed and built in Australia.

Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp says, “We are incredibly proud to have been a part of this historic mission. The Koonibba Test Range is world-class and hosting this mission has demonstrated the outstanding expertise and experience of the Southern Launch team.”

Later in the year Southern Launch will host the launch of the DLR (German Aerospace Centre) Reusability Flight Experiment, ReFEx. This will be a two-stage rocket carrying the ReFEx Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), achieving hypersonic speeds and an orbital altitude of about 130km before deployment of ReFEx itself and its wings and canard control surfaces. The ReFEx vehicle will then recover under aerodynamic control to a site in Australia but not to Koonibba.

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