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First rocket launched from SA commercial test site

The first rocket launch from a commercial test site on Australian soil will blast off on Tuesday. In a South Australian first, the rocket will launch from a test range in Koonibba, about 40km from Ceduna, at noon on Tuesday to the edge of space.The DART rocket – just 3.4m long and weighing 34kg –…

The first rocket launch from a commercial test site on Australian soil will blast off on Tuesday.

In a South Australian first, the rocket will launch from a test range in Koonibba, about 40km from Ceduna, at noon on Tuesday to the edge of space.

The DART rocket – just 3.4m long and weighing 34kg – will travel up to 100km into the atmosphere then release a payload, which is about the size of cigar.

The payload will then deploy a parachute, where data will be collected and gathered to use for future launches as it falls down to Earth.

According to DEWC Systems chief executive Ian Spencer, scout teams are on standby to retrieve the payload and the booster, or rocket motor, after the launch.

“There is a tracking device on the payload itself, and we’ll be tracking it as it comes down … and as it disappears over the horizon and we can’t track it like that anymore, we’ll have a helicopter go up with a handheld tracking unit in there so we should know pretty precisely where it’s landed,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“The booster will land about 11km forward of the range, and there are scout teams on standby to retrieve that.

“We need to retrieve our payload and get our electronics back and this is a beautiful spot … where this is there’s nothing we could hit or hurt, and that’s why we chose this location.”

Mr Spencer said Tuesday’s launch was a milestone for the country.

“When we get this away safely, it will open the door to all sorts of experimentation for universities and science organisations because they’ll know they have access to space from Australia, so this is just the first. We certainly have plans to do more.”

Mr Spencer said scientists were looking for perfect weather conditions with little winds.

Premier Steven Marshall, who will attend the launch, said the country aimed to create a $12 billion space sector with 20,000 new jobs by 2030.

“It really does cement SA as the centre of the Australian space industry – it’s very exciting,” Mr Marshall said.



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