Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
The Honourable Cameron Dick
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Queensland shoots and scores with successful rocket test launch
Queensland has taken a giant leap in establishing itself as a key Australian launching state after leading aerospace company Black Sky Aerospace successfully tested their Sighter190 rocket today in Westmar, five hours west of Brisbane.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the launch was the first sub-orbital launch in the country with a commercial payload and would make use of the Logan-based company’s Rapid Deployment Sounding Rocket (RDSR) technology.
“This Sighter190 research rocket is the first in Australia to catapult a commercial payload sky high, and that’s happening right here in our own backyard in Queensland,” he said.
“Black Sky Aerospace is proof Queensland can play a leading role in designing and manufacturing rocket and satellite technologies, including for projects like data collection for the communications, farming and mining industries.
“We want to promote Queensland’s capabilities to national and international space industry markets and today’s test at what is Australia’s only commercial sub-orbital launch site right here in our backyard is a substantial step forward in achieving that aim.”
The four-metre long rocket blasted to an altitude of around 17,000 feet and reached 1.2 times the speed of sound at top speed.
Mr Dick said the rocket was carrying a sensor suite from Hypersonix, another leading Queensland aerospace venture which has grown out of the world-leading scramjet work being undertaken at The University of Queensland.
“This test launch is giving Hypersonix a rare and invaluable opportunity to test the behaviour of their advanced composite materials at a significant altitude,” he said.
“The data collected from this test will help push the boundaries of hypersonic flight – a field with incredible potential to shape the future of transport and space travel.”
Sensor packages from the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research and DEKUNU Technologies were also on board Black Sky Aerospace’s rocket.
“Today’s launch is about testing the g-force load on these sensors and whether these sensors can withstand the impact and pressures of a rocket launch,” Mr Dick said.
“Success paves the way for these sensors to be tested and potentially used on even greater missions, including into space.
“This is about investigating whether Queensland products backed by Queensland-based companies and institutions can quite literally be taken to new heights.”
Black Sky Aerospace Director of Operations Blake Nikolic said the benefits of Australia launching its own rockets includes revenue into local supply chains, ease of international regulatory burdens and decreased turnaround times.
“With a global market worth US$360 billion seeing exponential growth, Australia will naturally benefit by companies like BSA supporting the ever-growing satellite market and beyond,” he said.
PFi General Manager of Defence and Aerospace and member of the government’s Queensland Space Industry Reference Group Nick Green said the test launch opened the door for realising the potential of Queensland’s growing space industry.
“This test launch casts the spotlight on Queensland as a destination for high-tech industries and offers insight into what could be achieved if we allow these kinds of projects to flourish and progress,” he said.
“The Queensland Government is taking the lead in supporting development of the space sector in our state. That support is giving us the opportunity to invest in and grow new and emerging technologies and industry for Queensland, and with that, in turn, comes jobs and a strengthened economy.”
Queensland Government inaugural aerospace advisor and head of the Queensland Space Industry Reference Group, retired Air Vice Marshall Neil Hart AM, said Queensland already has the right foundations to develop a solid aerospace industry.
“By knitting together today’s launch success, Queensland’s advanced manufacturing capabilities and the work that is already being achieved through the government’s aerospace roadmap, there is clearly significant potential to develop a viable Queensland space industry,” he said.
Mr Dick said the Palaszczuk Government has developed a long-term strategy that provides a strong foundation for furthering the state’s position in the space industry.
“Our Aerospace 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan sets out to capitalise on opportunities available to Queensland aerospace businesses,” he said.
“We have formed the Queensland Space Industry Reference Group of prime contractors, small-to-medium enterprises and research institutes to help guide industry’s development, and we are also launching a siting options assessment to identify suitable regions and sites in Queensland for a satellite park and launch facility.”
More information on the Palaszczuk Government’s Aerospace 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan can be found here: https://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/industry-development/aerospace.html
Media contact: Anika Hume 0447 320 039