Australia’s first private space rocket blasts off from far west SA Aboriginal community

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Australia’s first commercial, space-capable rocket has blasted off from the Koonibba test range on South Australia’s far-west coast.

Southern Launch said today’s launch aimed to reach 85 kilometres, which would make it the highest any commercial rocket had reached from Australian soil.

It was the second attempt to launch the 3.4-metre long, 34-kilogram rocket after the first on Tuesday misfired.

A second rocket was successfully fired off about 11:45am.

The launch occurred without the politicians and 200 Koonibba Aboriginal community members who attended Tuesday’s launch.


DEWC, a company boasting a “passion” for electronic warfare, has teamed up with Southern Launch to test launching processes.

DEWC is developing satellites that will be capable of helping the Australian Defence Force detect potentially dangerous radar signals from enemy forces.

A small device was deployed to the edge of space during this morning’s launch.

The payload’s purpose is to collect information with its built-in sensors on its journey back to Earth to assist with DEWC’s development of satellite technology.

The information will be collected and incorporated into the company’s software.

A rocket takes off from farmland
The rocket takes off from the Koonibba test range.(Vimeo: Southern Launch)

Federal Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said the launch forms part of the Royal Australian Air Force’s Plan Jericho advanced sensing program to detect and track challenging targets.

On Tuesday, SA Premier Steven Marshall said the rocket launch was the first commercial one in Australia.

“All of the previous launches have been government launches, so it is a historic time and I think this is really a taste of what’s to come in Australia,” he said.

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