Two more sub-orbital rockets are soon to leave Australian soil, with the announcement that the Australian Government has granted South-Australian-based launch company, Southern Launch, as well ATSPACE, two new launch approvals from the Whalers Way launch complex. The announcement, made on the 20th July 2022 have been given two missions names, VS02 and VS03 respectively, and have a two-fold purpose.
Firstly, they aim to push the envelope of the Kestrel I rocket by incrementally testing the rocket under different conditions. A 10-metre two-stage launch vehicle, the Kestrel I will reach an altitude of more than 200 kilometres. For the manufacturer, ATSpace, this testing is an integral part of the design process so that engineers can identify any weak links and improve future rocket designs. In fact, according to Dr Yen-Sen Chen, the Chief Executive Officer of ATSpace, test launches are the only way to attain technical maturity for any launch vehicle company.
“These two suborbital launches will provide us with valuable data to validate our future Kestrel V orbital design. They are the gateway to ATSpace’s growth and future investment in Australia and jobs for Australians,” says Chen.
ATSpace was founded in Australia in January 2021 and is the sister company to TiSPACE from Taiwan, which has previously worked with Southern Launch at the same launch site. Its rocket manufacturing facility is situated in Wingfield, South Australia, and currently, it is developing non-explosive hybrid rocket propulsion technologies that enable fast turnaround space launch services.