NASA Eyes Sounding Rocket Launches From Australia

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.”

Britain, Australia Sign Space Agreement

BREMEN, Germany (UKSA PR) — The United Kingdom and Australia will co-operate on activities including communications technologies, space situational awareness and satellite navigation, Science Minister Sam Gyimah announced today (3 October).

The Memorandum of Understanding, signed at the International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany, provides a framework for collaborative activities and the exchange of information, technology and personnel between both nations.


Australian Senate Committee Recommends No Public Funding for Commercial Launch Complex

Although it recommended creating a national space agency, the Senate Standing Committee on Economics has taken a rather hands-off approach on the development of a full-scale commercial launch complex:

“While not opposed in principle to Australia regaining its role as a launch site if a commercial venture wishes to do so (whether for satellites or tourists), the committee does not see this as likely, nor as something the government should be supporting with taxpayers’ money.”


No Space Agency Yet, But Australia Leads the World in Using Space Lyrics

Pink Floyd, Bowie, Elton, Kate Bush, Lou Reed, Savage Garden, Deep Purple, John Lennon, Sir Paul McCartney…and Old Blue Eyes himself, Mr. Frank Sinatra?

The Australia Senate Standing Committee on Economics interspersed its recent analysis calling for a national space agency with almost every popular song about space travel that anyone’s ever heard of.

Just look at Chaper 4 here, the one that reviews space tourism, space elevators, and Australia’s work on hypersonic engines. If you ever wondered what Major Tom had to do with whether Woomera is a viable launch complex, wonder no longer.

Australia Eyes National Space Agency

Australia needs space program, says Senate report
The Herald Sun

“The Senate Standing Committee on Economics said Australia is missing out on significant innovation and technology opportunities because it lacks a space agency.

“The committee’s report, Lost in Space? Setting a new direction for Australia’s space science and industry sector, said the government should establish a Space Industry Advisory Council to oversee the creation of a fully-fledged agency.

“The council would be made up of industry representatives, government agencies, defence personnel, and academics and chaired by the federal innovation minister.”