Countdown on for Australian Rocket Launch on Aboriginal Land

Countdown on for Australian Rocket Launch on Aboriginal Land
Steven Marshall announces that the Koonibba Aboriginal Community will be entering history books when Australia’s first rocket is launched to the edge of space. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

A small rocket is scheduled to blast off from a launch facility in South Australia, marking the nation’s first major foray into space for decades.

Southern Launch has set 11:59 am (CST) on Tuesday to fire off its first TED-01 DART rocket from the Koonibba Test Range.

The site is in the Koonibba Aboriginal Community on SA’s west coast.

The TED-01 DART is 3.4 metre, two-stage rocket which will carry a miniature sensing device to an altitude of about 85 kilometres before both falls 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 says Tuesday’s launch is an important day for South Australia and comes after the government’s significant investment to help develop a national space industry.

“This is the first space capable rocket launch in Australia for decades and decades,” the premier said.