Australian space industry set to rocket to new heights

15 Apr 2021

Australia’s space industry is ready for lift-off, after granting the first-ever launch facility licence to Australian company Southern Launch.

The licence will enable Southern Launch to work with domestic and international clients to launch commercial suborbital rockets from the Koonibba Test Range in regional South Australia.

The Koonibba Test Range is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest overland suborbital rocket testing facility, covering over 10,000 square kilometres. It is an ideal location for companies to validate their rocket and satellite technologies before launching into orbit.

This is a major milestone for the Australian space sector and will unlock opportunities for our local space businesses to help them grow and create local jobs,’ says Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology.

‘Australia’s geographical location and wide open spaces makes it optimal for various launch activities and suborbital rocket launches provide an important capability to space-qualify Australian hardware and technology.’

Southern Launch is so excited by this development,’ says Lloyd Damp, CEO of Southern Launch.

‘With the Koonibba Test Range licensed to launch rockets into space and recover payloads in the uninhabited desert to the north, we are ready to provide a unique service to both domestic and international customers.’

Based in Adelaide, South Australia, Southern Launch provides launch services, launch sites and bespoke rocket subsystems and designs. In addition to the Koonibba Test Range, the company is developing the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex to support orbital launches into polar and sun synchronous orbits.

The Koonibba Test Range is expected to attract space-related jobs and transform the local area into a vibrant hub for space-related work and activities. Southern Launch is providing training and development courses to upskill the local Koonibba community.

Since 2018 the Australian Government has invested more than A$700 million in the civil space sector as part of its plan to grow the sector to A$12 billion and add another 20,000 jobs by 2030. 

Contact Austrade for more information about Australia’s space industry.