After inspection of the Hapith I vehicle, after the September 16th launch attempt, Southern Launch and TiSPACE have concluded that the organizations’ will not continue with any further launch attempts of this particular vehicle.
Lloyd Damp, Southern Launch CEO said, “This test launch vehicle may not have taken Australia to space, however, it has provided our teams with valuable data and insights, which will lead TiSPACE in refining their launch vehicle capabilities further, and Southern Launch with the vibration and noise data needed to support the major development of the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex. We thank the Australian Space Agency, the Government of South Australia, and the emergency services for their support of the VS01 test launch campaign. And, we thank all of the businesses and individuals who went above and beyond in their assistance to our teams during the test launch.”
The Southern Launch team are now preparing for the next two, proposed test launch campaigns from the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex. More details to come on the VS02 and VS03 test launch campaigns, proposed to be completed by December 31, 2021.
To say circumstances have not been totally favorable for the Hapith I rocket launch from Whaler’s Way in Australia could almost be an understatement.
At 4:09 pm (ACST) on September 16, 2021, Southern Launch and TiSPACE attempted to launch the Hapith I once again — however, during ignition, the launch vehicle suffered an internal fault that caused the vehicle to catch alight. The fire was contained to the launch pad and was attended to by the South Australian Country Fire Service, who were onsite.
No people or the environment were put at risk.
At 2:18 p.m. (ACST) on September 15, 2021, the Southern Launch and TiSPACE countdown was halted just before lift-off, stopping the launch sequence.
During the final steps prior to lift-off, one of the systems did not come online. As per Southern Launch and TiSPACE’s safety protocols, the rocket was put into a safe state.
Lloyd Damp, Southern Launch CEO said, “The Southern Launch and TiSPACE teams are assessing the status of the launch vehicle, including the ability to attempt another launch at a later date.”
On Friday, September 10, Southern Launch and TiSPACE postponed the initial launch attempt due to unfavorable weather conditions — the clock was stopped at T-34 minutes.
An alert has been posted by the Australian Space Agency that provides a time confirmation for a launch from the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex on the Eyre Peninsula.
The launch will occur on Wednesday, September 15, 2021, between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., ACST. The Launch timing can be subject to change based on a variety of factors.
Maritime exclusion zones and Temporary Airspace Restrictions will be in place and will be issued by the appropriate authorities prior to the launch. Public and media access will not be permitted at the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex.
A requirement under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 is to arrange for notice of a launch to be broadcast on each radio station within a 50 kilometer radius of the launch site. The first broadcast notification should be aired at least two days before the launch. A second broadcast notification should be aired at least 1 hour, but no more than 12 hours, before the launch day and window once the second notification is provided by the Australian Space Agency.
Due to strong upper winds, the Southern Launch and TiSPACE teams, as well as the Australian Space Agency, came to the decision to postpone the Hapith I launch that was schedule for Friday, September 10th.
The launch teams monitored the winds using radiosondes, in conjunction with information provided from the Bureau of Meteorology, and determined that it would be unsafe to launch in the wind conditions monitored throughout the day.
Southern Launch and TiSPACE will determine a revised test launch date with the Australian Space Agency.
Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp said, “Space is hard and that’s why we’re taking an incremental approach to developing an Australian space launch capability. We had planned and trained for this potential outcome, facing an external factor like weather which would result in our teams needing to postpone the launch. The team are disappointed that we were unable to make history today for the Australian space industry, however our launch window is still open until Thursday, September 23rd, so we will be back on the range to attempt another launch.”
The test launch of the Taiwanese TiSPACE company’s Hapith I rocket from the Southern Launch‘s Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex in Southern Australia is scheduled for between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., ACST, according to the Australian Space Agency.
The Hapith I (which translate to ‘flying squirrel’ in Saisiyat, a Taiwanese indigenous language) rocket is a two-stage launch vehicle that weighs 3 tons and stands 10 meters tall. The engine uses TiSPACE’s hybrid propulsion technology.
This test launch is being conducted by Southern Launch in support of the major development for the proposed, permanent launch complex. TiSPACE will be testing their hybrid rocket technology.
For those in Australia, the best viewing area will be at the Wanna lookout that is located across the bay from the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex, located on Wanna Road in Lincoln National Park, South Australia. This location is approximately a 30 minute drive from Port Lincoln.
“We are tremendously excited to be on the verge of launching Australia back into space. “This test launch represents the culmination of thousands of hours of preparation and planning, not only by everyone on our team but also at state and federal government levels,” said Lloyd Damp, the Chief Executive of Southern Launch. “It also represents a world first for our launch partner TSPACE, which has developed next generation hybrid rocket propulsion technologies to power satellites into orbit. A safe and reliable sovereign launch capability is absolutely key in enabling South Australia and the Eyre Peninsula to start capturing part of the $5.5 billion global space-launch market. It’s important to remember that this is a test launch and that, no matter what happens on the launch day, we will gain valuable data that will further propel us along our journey. That’s what makes it so exciting. We’re hoping the weather remains favorable and that we can give a glimpse into the future of space for Australia.”