Queensland-based launch provider, Black Sky Aerospace, is facilitating UK company Raptor Aerospace’s rocket motor test and sounding rocket launch campaign, to be conducted in Australia’s Beyond the Blue sub-orbital launch facility. This will be Australia’s first privately operated, international rocket motor test and sounding rocket launch campaign.
Scheduled to take place mid-February 2020, the Raptor Aerospace team intends to undertake a campaign where they can first test and space qualify their own launch vehicles and systems. The Beyond the Blue Aerospace facility they will use is located just outside of Goondiwindi in Queensland’s outback.
According to Black Sky’s press release, Raptor has chosen to conduct their tests in Australia, rather than in the UK, due to practical reasons – the UK has a dense population and a busy European airspace, making land-based rocket launches and systems recovery very difficult.
Raptor CEO, Ben Jarvis, said “Whilst the development of the new space-ports in the UK will ultimately allow some of our commercial activity to occur on ‘home soil’, many customer payloads and test flights, where recovery of sensitive electronics after flight is critical, will need a land range to fly from.”
Jarvis continued, “Black Sky Aerospace have been a great partner in our development so far in offering us access to a suitable inland site and invaluable expertise that we hope will lead to an ongoing commercial collaboration that forwards space access in both countries.”
CEO and founder of Black Sky aerospace, Blake Nikolic said, “Australia is playing an increasing role in the world’s space ambitions and we are playing a significant role in enabling access to an efficient, cost-effective service”.
“…This campaign with Raptor Aerospace will drive additional export opportunities of Black Sky Aerospace’s technology, whilst solidifying Australia’s position as the place to conduct research and testing, before undertaking expensive orbital launches,” continued Nikolic.