Building on the MoU that was previously signed between DLR – Space Operations and Astronaut Training – and Southern Launch on March 26, 2020, the organizations have now signed a Cooperation Agreement further enhancing their relationship.
The Cooperation Agreement aims to implement joint civilian research activities in the field of suborbital and orbital space launch, especially in the field of reusable launch vehicles (RLV). Working together on such activities is a major step towards further developing Southern Launch’s capabilities and launch sites to conduct safe and economically affordable rocket launches.
A notable spin-off from the agreement is that the organizations will work to establish an educational sounding rocket program in Australia, allowing universities to undertake space-based research projects from the Southern Hemisphere. The signing of the agreement follows the successful launch of two space capable rockets by Southern Launch at the Koonibba Test Range, both completed on September 19, 2020.
DLR is looking into the feasibility of using Southern Launch’s Koonibba Test Range for the testing of new rocket technologies and launch equipment, in line with DLR’s efforts to research and develop future reusable launcher technologies. Together, DLR and Southern Launch are working toward a launch date of the first DLR research mission in mid-2022. DLR has also released their video of the Reusable Flight Vehicle launch from South Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eerdVjl8M7I
“This cooperation unlocks flight testing potential that is not otherwise attainable through a joint effort by DLR and Southern Launch. It further strengthens and adds to Mobile Rocket Base’s cooperation with Australian research partners, adding to the growing collaboration of the two countries in space research and utilization,” said Rainer Kirchhartz, Head of DLR’s Mobile Rocket Base.
“We are very proud to be working with DLR on a number of rocket projects and look forward to contributing into an international space program such as DLR’s,” said Lloyd Damp, CEO of Southern Launch.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said the agreement showed the demand for launch within South Australia’s space industry. “This collaboration is further evidence of South Australia’s attractiveness to international space companies, thanks to our thriving local space industry and proven ability to facilitate successful rocket launches from within the state,” Premier Marshall said, adding, “There has never been a better time to be involved in the space industry in this age of global space exploration and advancement, and South Australia is the best place to centre Australia’s global space endeavors.”