The largest commercial rocket testing facility in the Southern Hemisphere, the Koonibba Test Range, continues to garner international interest with confirmation a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Southern Launch and US aerospace company SpaceWorks.

The news follows the near completion of the Koonibba Test Range’s new launch facilities ahead of the suborbital test launch of German manufacturer Hylmpulse’s SR75 rocket.

Signed at this month’s international Space Symposium in the US, the agreement between Southern Launch and SpaceWorks underpins growing confidence in South Australia’s space capability and adds to the list of global space pioneers set to make use of Koonibba Test Range’s world-class facilities.

SpaceWorks manufactures space transportation systems, including a line of atmospheric REDs to enable low-cost, autonomous re-entry of payloads from Earth orbit. The MoU will establish a collaborative relationship between SpaceWorks and Southern Launch to investigate facilitating the return of the SpaceWorks’ Re-Entry Devices (RED) from orbit to the Koonibba Test Range.

Jointly operated by the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation and Southern Launch, the Koonibba Test Range offers over 41,000 square kilometres of uninhabited land (15,800 square miles, an area significantly bigger than the state of Maryland) to accept the returns of space technology from orbit.

“This MoU with SpaceWorks well and truly showcases to the world that Australia is the place for in-space manufactured technology to return to Earth,” said Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp.

“We have the land, the expertise and a regulatory framework that enables us to accept the returns of this ground-breaking technology for our customers.”

Dr John Bradford CEO of SpaceWorks said that the partnership is another step towards planned operational capability.

“Over the last five years, we have been advancing the requisite technologies for our RED vehicles,” said Dr Bradford. “We are looking forward to working with Southern Launch and Australia as we take another step towards our planned operational capability.”