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Southern Launch wins $1M Federal grant for mobile launch rail

Southern Launch’s Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex, southwest of Port Lincoln. Photo: Southern Launch

Australian spaceport and space mission provider Southern Launch has been awarded an Australian Space Agency Moon to Mars Grant to help develop its mobile launch rail.

The almost $1 million grant will enable Southern Launch to design, construct, and commission a mobile launch rail that will be capable of launching sub-orbital vehicles ranging in mass from 20kg to 3,500kg. The mobility of the rocket launcher will allow Southern Launch to utilise the launch rail at both the Koonibba Test Range and the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex.

The mobile launch rail project will deliver on the Federal Government’s commitment to providing world-class, reliable, economical, and safe launch facilities in Australia, which will serve a wide range of Australian and international customers. The increased capability will also mean that more international launch customers will be able to consider Southern Launch as their launch site.

Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp highlighted the benefits of a mobile launch rail for Australian space companies: “The mobile launch rail will allow the testing of new rocket and payload technologies, which in turn will grow jobs across the Australian space industry,” he said.

“The mobile launch rail will further increase Southern Launch’s capability in driving Launch as a service from Australian shores. We thank the Australian Space Agency for their continued support in driving the Australian spaceport industry.”

The grant announcement came a few days after Southern Launch opened its new headquarters in the Adelaide suburb of Hindmarsh following the expansion of its space launch services and applied space engineering consultancy operations in Australia.

The company’s new facilities include warehousing for space vehicles preparing to launch as well as increased office space for operational and applied research staff.

The growth of opportunities for Southern Launch stems from decisions of the Australian and state governments to contribute to the increased activities across space launch in Australia coupled with ever growing interest in space launch activities from Australia, said Lloyd Damp.

“Since our establishment in 2017, we have seen first hand how space policy has developed and impacted on our commercial operations, as a result companies like Southern Launch are better supported to seek commercial opportunities in the space industry,” he added, highlighting how the opening of their new headquarters in Hindmarsh will support Southern Launch’s operations.

“This new headquarters will now allow our launch team to have access to the space vehicles on site during preparations, enabling quicker design and manufacturing iterations, and increased productivity.”

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