SA-based company launches agreement with US Space Command
Southern Launch has become the first Australian space launch group to enter a sharing agreement with the United States Space Command.
Southern Launch Range Operations at Koonibba Test Range. Picture Supplied
Under the arrangement, Southern Launch will notify the United States Space Command ahead of time to identify launch windows that ensure the trajectory of vehicles avoids space objects already in orbit.
Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp said the new agreement is a landmark for commercial space activities in Australia.
‘Southern Launch continues to set the standard in Australia for safe, sustainable commercial space launches,” Damp said.
“Our agreement with the United States Space Command further strengthens the commitment we have to Australia being a responsible user of space.”
Headquartered at Hindmarsh, Southern Launch is one of very few Australian licensed suborbital space launch providers and currently operates two launch sites in South Australia.
The Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex at the tip of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia supports orbital launches into the highly sought polar and sun-synchronous orbits.
The company also operates the overland suborbital Koonibba Test Range near Ceduna.
Southern Launch employee Nathan with a radar at the Koonibba Test Range. Picture supplied.
Richard Price, Defence SA and South Australian Space Industry Centre Chief Executive said, “South Australia is committed to supporting Australia’s national space strategy, with space situational and debris monitoring one of seven national civil space priorities.
“Collisions in space pose a risk to both assets and life and this agreement is an excellent initiative to ensure launches undertaken in South Australia are done using a safe and considered approach.”
Space Situational Awareness is the monitoring and tracking of orbiting space-based objects such as satellites and other hardware in orbit using ground-based radar and optical stations.
The United States Space Command tracks over 47,000 objects orbiting Earth in space.
Using the capability of the United States Space Command Space Situational Awareness and Launch Collision Avoidance systems, the sharing agreement allows Southern Launch to further ensure the enduring safety of their launches.
The signing of the agreement is part of an ongoing relationship between the United States Space Command and Southern Launch with the two working together on reducing the amount of space debris orbiting Earth.
In the statement released today by Southern Launch a spokesperson said, “the U.S. Space Command conducts operations in, from, and to space to deter conflict, and if necessary, defeat aggression, deliver space combat power for the Joint/Combined force, and defend U.S. vital interests with allies and partners such as Australia.”