Two Kestrel rockets set for launch from SA


ATSpace has confirmed they are ready to launch two of their Kestrel I rockets before the end of the year after a planned launch in November was postponed due to severe weather.

Under permissions granted by the Australian Space Agency, launch services company Southern Launch and AT Space will aim to launch both the VS02 and VS03 missions from the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex near Port Lincoln in South Australia in December.

ATSpace prepares its hybrid rockets for launch at a facility in Northern Adelaide.

The potential launch of two consecutive missions would be a fillip for the Whalers Way complex, which suffered three failed launch attempts in 2021.

Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp said: “We have proven over multiple launch campaigns that we can deliver a world-class launch facility for our customers.

“We are excited to assist ATSpace to deliver two consecutive, safe sub-orbital launches to space.”

ATSpace made the decision to attempt to launch the two consecutive missions after investigations revealed that lightning damage to the VS03 rocket was not as severe as first thought, according to a statement.

ATSpace CEO Dr YenSen Chen said: “We were very pleased to discover that the repairs required to the VS03 rocket were minimal.

“We always planned to launch the VS02 rocket in 2022 and it is fantastic that we can attempt to combine the two missions to be consecutive launches.”

Southern Launch has received approvals from the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) to conduct the launches during fire ban season.

Damp said: ‘We have invested significantly in developing in-house firefighting capability and fire suppression systems for the launch pad at the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex.

“The launch trajectory for both potential missions is over the Southern Ocean which further minimises the risk of fire.”

Picture: Southern Launch

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