Southern Launch signs up with US Space Command

South Australian rocket launch company Southern Launch has signed a Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Sharing Agreement with the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) – the first announced with Australia.

Under the arrangement, Southern Launch will notify USSPACECOM ahead of launches to identify launch windows that ensure the trajectory of launch vehicles avoids space objects already in orbit.

Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp said: “Our agreement with the United States Space Command further strengthens the commitment we have to Australia being a responsible user of space.”

Defence SA Richard Price said space situational awareness and debris monitoring was 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 on orbit using ground-based radar and optical stations.

The United States Space Command tracks over 47,000 objects orbiting Earth in space.

The signing of the agreement is just the first step in an ongoing relationship between the United States Space Command and Southern Launch. Looking ahead, the two will work together on de-orbit, re-entry and end-of-life de-orbit support to assist in reducing the amount of space debris orbiting Earth.

Picture: Southern Launch/Whalers Way rocket launch facility

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