Southern Launch has become the first Australian commercial space launch provider to sign a Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Sharing Agreement with the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM).

Under the SSA agreement, Southern Launch will liaise with USSPACECOM ahead of launches to identity safe launch windows that ensure the trajectory of launch vehicles avoids space objects in orbit.

The United States Space Command’s Space Situational Awareness and Launch Collision Avoidance systems currently tracks over 47,000 objects orbiting Earth, and the sharing agreement allows the South Australian company to ensure the enduring safety of their launches.

Southern Launch CEO, Lloyd Damp, said the landmark agreement sets the standard for safe commercial space activity in the country.

“Southern Launch continues to set the standard in Australia for safe, sustainable commercial space launches,” said Mr Damp.

“Our agreement with the United States Space Command further strengthens the commitment we have to Australia being a responsible user of space.”

Chief Executive of Defence SA, Richard Price, explained the agreement is critical to the nation’s space priorities.

“South Australia is committed to supporting Australia’s national space strategy, with space situational awareness and debris monitoring one of seven national civil space priorities,” said Mr Price.

“Collisions in space pose a risk to both assets and life and this agreement is an excellent initiative to ensure launches undertaken in South Australia are done using a safe and considered approach.”

The signing has been labelled as the first step in an ongoing relationship between USSPACECOM and the launch provider, with the two planning to work on de-orbit, re-entry, and end-of-life de-orbit support to assist in reducing the amount of space debris.

Read the media release