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4 mins read 30 Aug 2021

Taiwanese Rocket Company Approved for Australian Launch

Taiwanese rocket company tiSPACE has been approved to conduct a test flight of their Hapith I rocket from the South Australian launch site at Whalers Way.

One of tiSPACE’s Hapith rockets. Credit: tiSPACE.

Australia is expanding its space industry horizons with the recent announcement that a Taiwanese rocket launch has been approved to take place later this year. The launch will see Taiwanese company tiSPACE conduct a test flight of its Hapith I - a ten metre, two-stage, suborbital rocket.  

This will be the largest rocket launched from Australian soil in a number of decades, as the nation progresses through a rekindling of public interest and commercial participation in the space sector, fuelled by global strategies programs of returning humans to places like the Moon, and onwards to Mars.

But ambitious deep space locations are only part of the story - with a larger portion of activation amongst universities, space-related companies and their supply chains all positioning for the opportunities that come from Low-Earth Orbit, such as Earth Observation data and application services. 

Dates for the Hapith I launch are yet to be announced, but the launch is planned to take place at Southern Launch’s Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex, which had its launch licence approved earlier this year and just released an environmental impact statement

“Southern Launch is pleased to be partnering with TiSPACE to conduct the first test launch at our Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex on the Eyre Peninsula.” said Southern launch CEO Lloyd Damp. 

This is an exciting development on our journey to establish the first site in Australia capable of launching commercial satellites into orbit, enabling South Australia to start capturing part of the $5.5 billion global space launch market.”

tiSPACE is based in Taiwan, specialising in space technologies and launch services. The launch of Hapith I will test the hybrid rocket’s propulsion, guidance, telemetry, and structure systems. 

Although the company owns a private launch site by the southeast coastline of Taiwan, tiSPACE has expressed interest in taking up further launches in Australia after this initial Haptih I test as part of a long term investment into the Australian space sector. 

Map showing location of the Whalers Way Launch Orbital Complex. Credit: Southern Launch.

Launching for tiSPACE is a step forward for the Australian space sector as it adds to the sector’s growing momentum, positioning Australia as a future launch destination. Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter commented on the importance of tiSPACE’s launch permit’s approval. 

“This is an important outcome in establishing Australia’s commercial launch capability and demonstrating what our country can offer to the international space sector,” Minister Porter said. 

“Space is a significant global growth market that will support Australia’s economic future through big investment, new technologies and job growth across multiple industries.”

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan emphasised the tiSPACE approval as a significant milestone in the development of Australia’s space capabilities. 

“Australia has an opportunity to become a key player in the rapidly expanding global space launch market, which will bring investment, jobs and innovation to our nation,” Mr Tehan said.

Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo concurred with Mr Tehan, stating that this tiSPACE launch will contribute to Australia’s journey in becoming a significant part of the global space industry. 

“This is a significant milestone that will help pave the way for future commercial launches from Australia,” Mr Palermo said.

“We are passionate about growing a thriving space industry – one that can open doors for our national space sector to launch technologies from home and attract greater investment from international launch customers.” 

Southern Launch is a company that is shaping Australia’s space launch landscape. In addition to their launch complex at Whalers Way, Southern Launch also has a rocket range at Koonibba, northwest of Ceduna. They successfully completed their first launch of a commercial rocket from the range last year, and the Koonibba Range was granted Australia’s first-ever Launch Facility Licence earlier this year.