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Local companies join forces to launch first payload from SA

Feb 21, 2020, 11:39 AM

Adelaide-based DEWC Systems will be the first company to launch a payload aboard a suborbital rocket from Southern Launch's newly announced Koonibba Test Range, in the far west of South Australia. 

Announced at the 9th Australian Space Forum in Adelaide today, the collaboration will accelerate the development DEWC's next-generation electronic warfare satellite project – the Miniaturised Orbital Electronic Sensor System (MOESS) – to improve Australia’s defence capabilities in space.

Flown aboard a T-Minus Engineering Dart rocket, the DEWC Space Payload 1 will travel up to 100km in altitude before being ejected from the launch container and descending to Earth. 

During its descent, the payload will demonstrate DEWC Systems’ ability to detect, identify and locate Radar emissions through various altitudes and environments using miniaturised sensors. 

The Royal Australian Air Force’s Plan Jericho has sponsored the development of the radio frequency receiver prototype payload to explore the utility of affordable, rapid launch capabilities for Defence situational awareness. 

DEWC Systems CEO Ian Spencer said the payload carries a suite of miniaturised sensors, antennas and communications equipment that will allow real time tracking from the DEWC ground station.

He said the project is a fantastic example of what can be achieved through genuine collaboration between local space industry.  

“This mission is an exciting collaboration between Australian space industry players and demonstrates that Australian space industry has evolved and is ready to make its mark in the NewSpace era," said Spencer. 

Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp welcomed the collaboration with DEWC, which will be the first company to launch a suborbital rocket from the Koonibba Test Range.

“The launch of the DEWC Systems payload at the Koonibba Test Range, supported by the First Nations people at Koonibba, marks the start of Australia entering the NewSpace race and a future where all Australians can truly reach for the stars," he said.   

Developed in conjunction with the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation, the Koonibba Test Range extends for 145 kilometres from the township of Koonibba and covers an area of 10,000 uninhabited square kilometres.

Southern Launch is also developing a launch site at Whaler’s Way on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia that will allow rocket manufacturers to launch satellites into polar or sun synchronous orbits.