South Australia is home to the first two launch facility licences awarded by the Australian Space Agency.
Koonibba Test Range
The Koonibba Test Range is located 40km north-west of Ceduna on the West Coast of the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. Jointly operated by Southern Launch and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation, the test range is one of the largest commercial testing facilities in the world and is Australia’s first licensed space launch facility.
Extending across 145km of uninhabited national park, the launch site specialises in suborbital launches providing companies with the ability to recover rockets and their payload to do further testing and systems validation before launching into orbit.
In September 2020, for the first time in Australia’s history, the site facilitated the successful launch of two commercial space-capable rockets.
In April 2023, Southern Launch, and the Koonibba Aboriginal Corporation announced their partnership to develop permanent world-class facilities at the Koonibba Test Range after the Koonibba Aboriginal Corporation was awarded $4.5 million in funding to expand the offerings at the test range.
View the Southern Launch website for further information about the Koonibba Test Range.
Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex
The Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex is a facility proposed for development (subject to final approval) by Southern Launch to support orbital launches into the highly sought after polar and sun synchronous orbits. The desired location for this complex on the tip of the Eyre Peninsula is located 680km from Adelaide, the site is a short 32km from the major township of Port Lincoln.
Covering 1200 hectares, the site, if approved, will be the only commercial, multi-user site that offers proximity to established industry infrastructure that can support rocket launches, good year-round weather and unhindered southward launch trajectories across unpopulated areas with low density air and nautical traffic lanes.
With plans to facilitate the launch infrastructure needed for rocket and satellite manufacturers to launch their rockets within 48 hours’ notice, if approved for development, the site will usher in the new paradigm for Just-In-Time space access.
Southern Launch received approval for the construction of infrastructure to support a test launch campaign in June 2021, followed by a launch facility licence awarded in July 2021 by the Australian Space Agency to support the growth of Australia’s civil space sector.
View the Southern Launch website for further information about the proposed complex