In this episode of Space Café Australia, Dr. Annie Handmer speaks with Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp about the journey towards commercial launch from Australia. In 2006 Lloyd graduated with a degree in Space Engineering from the University of Sydney and holds a Masters in aero-structural optimisation, a Graduate Certificate in Applied Project Management and a Graduate Certificate in Scientific Leadership. In a career spanning over 12 years in Defence research, Lloyd has led teams to deliver leapfrog technologies across numerous technology fronts.
Lloyd founded Southern Launch in 2017, keen to take advantage of a fast-growing space industry and create infrastructure to support and enable Australian space launches. In late 2021, Southern Launch conducted several rocket tests at Whalers Way in South Australia and intends to continue testing in 2022. The company also develops software to promote launch range safety and provides engineering consulting for launch activities and technologies. In their discussion, Annie and Lloyd chat about the changing regulatory environment for launching rockets in Australia, and Lloyd’s practical experience working closely with the government to satisfy licencing and regulatory requirements. They delve into the unique experience of working in a sector that is testing policy for the first time, and how government and the private sector are cooperating and collaborating to make that happen in a safe way.
They also tackle the ‘why’ – why launch at all?
And why from Australia?
Lloyd tells Annie about the particularly useful angles that make Australia a great place to launch with a rapid cadence into high inclination orbits. Annie asks Lloyd whether launch companies ought to be thinking about debris problems when accepting clients, and Lloyd explains why he thinks new technologies will solve the problem of debris proliferation. Annie and Lloyd dig into what makes something a failure or a success, and how failures teach us more than successes. Lloyd finishes by providing an overview of Southern Launch’s plans for the next couple of years, which include attempting the first orbital launch from Australia in over 51 years. Watch this space!
All this and more from Space Café Australia.
This Space Café Australia was held on 7th April 2022.