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NASA Eyes Sounding Rocket Launches From Australia

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
June 3, 2019
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A Black Brant IX sounding rockets lifts off from the Wallops Flight Facility with the ASPIRE experiment on board on Sept. 7, 2018. (Credit: NASA/Allison Stancil)

ADELAIDE, South Australia, 31 May 2019 (Australia Space Agency PR) — NASA is looking to Australian company Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) to conduct rocket launches.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Wallops Flight Facility has indicated it would like to progress discussions with ELA on their 2020 sounding rocket campaign. The campaign would provide temporary southern hemisphere launch facilities for sounding rockets for scientific investigations.

The proposed launch activities fall under the Space Activities Act 1998. The amended legislation to come into effect on 31 August 2019 (the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018). The Australian Space Agency is responsible for administering this legislation, including the relevant licenses and permits for launch sites and launch activities.

The Agency is also currently consulting with industry on draft rules under the amended Act. Ensuring the rules are in place for space activities is a priority for the Agency.

Head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark AC said, “NASA’s interest in conducting a sounding rocket campaign in Australia shows the increasing importance of commercial launch activities from Australia.

“As these activities build momentum, the Agency will continue its focus on creating a supportive regulatory environment that fosters industry growth, while ensuring public safety and considering our international obligations.”

6 responses to “NASA Eyes Sounding Rocket Launches From Australia”

  1. Jeff Smith says:

    Hurray Sparta! Hurray Australia! Hurray sounding rockets!

  2. duheagle says:

    Middle Earth having already beaten Oz to space, it’s incumbent on all right-thinking Sons of Baum to catch up.

  3. Saturn1300 says:


  4. duheagle says:

    Well, at least the mush-brained lefties are out of power in OZ once more. Let’s hope your new government is friendlier to the idea of flying something besides monkeys than was your last.

    • Paul_Scutts says:

      It’s not a new government, Richard, the government was re-elected. I do not agree with your “mush-brained lefties” comment, as, IMO, all the political parties, within my country, have shown an equal amount of disinterest when it comes to matters to do with space. Regards, Paul.

      • duheagle says:

        A pity if true. Along with the U.S.,Canada, your Kiwi neighbors and even Israel to a degree, Australia is one of the few authentic new nation pioneering-based societies on the planet. It would be a real shame if Australia is now content to put all that behind it.

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