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Southern Launch signs agreement with UK spacecraft manufacturer

Australian firm Southern Launch has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UK-based Space Forge to explore satellite return possibilities at Koonibba Test Range on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

Space Forge is developing a world-first service for the launch and return of a new, small class of vehicle called ForgeStar™, which can be deployed from conventional launchers to provide rapid, reliable and reusable in-space infrastructure for research and production of super materials.

Under the MoU, Space Forge will launch their ForgeStar-1A satellite and prove their re-entry capabilities at the Koonibba Test Range – one of the largest commercial rocket testing facilities in the world which is jointly operated by Southern Launch and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation.

Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp said the agreement heralds a new era in the nation’s space industry.

“It’s a definitive step forward in showcasing to the world the expertise and natural advantages we have right here in South Australia,” said Mr Damp. “Our hope is to provide a complete solution for Space Forge which creates further opportunities for the wider industry.”

CEO and Cofounder of Space Forge, Joshua Western, said the company are delighted to be collaborating with Southern Launch.

“The size and location of the Koonibba Test Range as a Southern Hemisphere re-entry point for our ForgeStar™ satellite make it an ideal option for our business model and this partnership has great potential to bring economic growth and cutting-edge technologies to both the UK and Australia,” said Mr Western.

“This partnership is a fantastic example of international collaboration – working together for the benefit of the global space industry.”

The MoU was signed at the 38th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs and was witnessed by Head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo, and Director of Space for the UK Government, Rebecca Evernden.

Mr Palermo said the agreement was another signal of the strong relationship between Australia and the UK.

“Space Forge is looking to not just launch from Australia but also to bring economic benefit, payload refurbishment, job opportunities and cutting-edge space technologies to our shore,” he said.

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