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Australian Southern Launch puts two DART rockets with sensor payload into polar suborbit

Berlin, 21 September 2020. – The Australian small satellite launcher Southern Launch has completed two polar suborbital launches in a row on a DART rocket, the company said on 19 September.

“At 10:09:47 am on 19 September 2020, Southern Launch ignited Australia’s first commercial space-capable rocket at the Koonibba Test Range northwest of Ceduna in South Australia,” Southern Launch announced.

“And in a second first for Australia, only an hour and and forty minutes later at 11:49:47 am a second space capable launch was safely completed.”

Southern Launch used the DART launch vehicle from rocket manufacturer T-Minus Engineering for the double launch to place an advanced Earth observation sensor payload from DEWC Systems into polar suborbit.

“We as Australians have achieved something incredible today, because today at Koonibba, Australia took its first small step towards once again being a proud space capable nation,” Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp said in the company’s press release.

“Today Southern Launch demonstrated our ability to launch our first space capable rocket, and within two hours, launch another rocket. This demonstrates our ability to provide a future responsive space access to DEWC Systems and our broader customer base.”

“This launch will assess the design requirements of low cost, expendable sensors necessary to survive and operate effectively in harsh temperature, gravity and vibration environments,” Royal Australian Air Force, Air Warfare Centre Director Integration and Innovation Group Captain Tobyn Bearman said. “This innovative project will enable Air Force, and Australian industry partners, to enhance sovereign technical design and development skills, as well as deepen the collective understanding of advanced sensor performance in high altitude environments.”

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