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Licence to build rocket launch facility awarded

The Federal Government has approved the licence to build a suborbital rocket testing facility at Whalers Way, 680km West of Adelaide.

Southern Launch was granted approval for a second rocket launch facility licence in South Australia.

The Whalers Way site will initially support a test launch campaign for up to three suborbital rockets. Data will be collected during those launches to measure environmental impacts to assist in determining the site’s viability as a possible launch location for future suborbital and orbital launches.

Industry, Science and Technology Minister Christian Porter congratulated Southern Launch on the approval, which he said was an important step forward in establishing Australia’s commercial launch capabilities.

“The global space launch services market is expected to reach US$29.6 billion by 2027. Australia has a unique opportunity to be part of this exciting and growing industry, given our geographical advantages which make us an attractive destination for launch activities,” Porter said.

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“Building our capability in this area will also help to unlock significant opportunities for local industries and drive job growth across the advanced manufacturing sector.”

Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said the approval of the Whalers Way launch facility licence is a strong signal of the nation’s maturing launch capability.

“Momentum in Australia’s civil space sector is growing every day, signalled by increasing private investment and associated job creation,” Palermo said.

“This approval provides the emerging launch sector with the confidence of the Australian Space Agency’s intention to grow Australia’s launch capability and infrastructure, in alignment with our civil space strategy.”

The launch facility licence for Whalers Way follows the granting of Australia’s first launch facility licence for Southern Launch’s Koonibba Test Range in March 2021.

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