Two South Australian companies will take their first leap into manufacturing for the state’s growing space industry after successfully winning a contract to develop a mobile launch rail for space launch provider, Southern Launch.

Pipe fabrication and structural steel company, Ferretti International, and hydraulic engineering specialists, Hydroil, will build and supply the mobile rail – a transportable rocket launcher – to be used for Southern Launch’s future missions at the Whalers Way and Koonibba launch complexes.

The project will be funded by a near $1 million grant awarded to Southern Launch as part of the Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars grant program.

Southern Launch CEO, Lloyd Damp, said the project will be of great significance for the company and South Australia’s space sector.

“The construction of a mobile launch rail means that we can use the rail at both our Koonibba and Whalers Way launch complexes,” said Mr Damp. “This offers greater flexibility in the space launch locations available in South Australia and strengthens our position as the space state in Australia.”

Business Development Manager at Ferretti, Scott Searle, explained the value of the contract to the manufacturing company.

“Being involved in the construction of space technology provides our staff with the opportunity to use their skills and expertise in different ways,” Mr Searle said.

“Ensuring that Australia is home to strong manufacturing sector is extremely important to us.

“Being involved in a project in a new and emerging industry such as space, in our home state, gives us the confidence to go after similar projects both here and internationally.”

Hydroil’s General Manager, Paul Dreimann, said the project was an exciting new challenge for the company’s workforce.

“Hydroil is a family-owned business committed to innovation,” said Mr Dreimann. “The skilled workforce we maintain in South Australia means we have the flexibility and expertise to take on new challenges such as this one for Southern Launch.”

Additional South Australian businesses will also be engaged for the launch rail project, with Southern Launch to award further contracts to local companies for the transport, assembly and other components associated with the project.