A small rocket scheduled to blast off from a launch facility in South Australia has failed to fire, but the company behind the mission says it could try again within 24 hours.
Southern Launch had planned to launch its TED-01 DART rocket from the Koonibba Test Range on SA’s west coast at midday on Tuesday
But chief executive officer Lloyd Damp said the outcome was not what the company wanted.
“We ignited the rocket motor, but the rocket itself, the propellant, didn’t ignite,” he told reporters at the site.
“This is one of the things we’ve been training for over the past few days.
“We will unpack the rocket and find out work out what went wrong and we might be back as early as tomorrow to try again.
“Space is hard.”
The date has been set.
Our first rocket to launch to the edge of space (in recent times) from South Australia is happening next month!@vistronaut covers this exciting story from @SouthernLaunch & DEWC Systems.https://t.co/vMn9wUH989#SpaceAustralia
📸 Southern Launch pic.twitter.com/1xjQkWDxcd
— SpaceAustralia.com (@SpaceAusDotCom) August 27, 2020
The 3.4-metre, two-stage rocket was to carry a miniature sensing device to an altitude of about 85 kilometres, before both would fall back to earth.
The rocket’s payload is less than 27 centimetres long, but with its suite of antennas will conduct an important sensing mission to detect and identify specific radar signals.
Premier Steven Marshall travelled to Koonibba for the launch and said the company would learn from Tuesday’s problems.
He said regardless, it was an exciting development for the space sector in SA.
“This will be the first commercial space-capable rocket launch in Australia,” Mr Marshall said.
“All of the previous launches have been government launches. So this is just a taste of what is to come.”
Beautiful morning to be flying into Ceduna and travelling to Koonibba for the historic rocket launch at @SouthernLaunch 🚀 It’s a huge vote of confidence in #SouthAustralia’s space industry to have missions like this taking off. pic.twitter.com/rYg0TwFOmR
— Steven Marshall, MP (@marshall_steven) September 15, 2020
Southern Launch had planned two separate launches from the SA site, with a second scheduled for Saturday.
Mr Damp said that was still the plan but much would depend on the analysis of what went wrong with the first attempt and the weather.
A low-pressure system is expected to develop in the west on Wednesday with a trough forecast to bring rain and thunderstorms across SA.