Black Sky Aerospace facilitating Australia’s first international rocket testing and sounding rocket launch partnership

Queensland based launch provider, Black Sky Aerospace and UK company Raptor Aerospace will conduct Australia’s first privately operated, international rocket motor test and sounding rocket launch campaign. 

The campaign is planned to take place at the Beyond the Blue Aerospace sub-orbital launch facility just outside of Goondiwindi in Queensland’s outback. Scheduled for blast-off mid – February 2020, the Raptor Aerospace team intends to undertake a campaign where they can first test and space qualify their own launch vehicles and systems. 

Coming to Australia to undertake this type of test and recovery campaign is more practical than carrying it out in the UK. It is very difficult to embark on a land-based rocket launch campaign in the UK, where the desired outcomes are the recovery of the systems for further analysis. This is due to the dense population and busy European airspace.

The vast launch and recovery area provided by Beyond the Blue Aerospace, and the project requirements enabled by Black Sky Aerospace will completely resolve any logistical, population or airspace challenges that Raptor aerospace might face in Europe. 

Enhancing the campaign, ties between the UK Space Agency and Australian Space Agency are very strong, thanks to the recent announcements of a “Space Bridge”, that is designed to open up new trade opportunities. The Space Bridge aims to shape the scope for work in space between the two nations, and support future objectives and ambitions.   

Raptor CEO, Mr. Ben Jarvis said “Whilst the development of the new space-ports in the UK will ultimately allow some of our commercial activity to occur on ‘home soil’, many customer payloads and test flights, where recovery of sensitive electronics after flight is critical, will need a land range to fly from.”

Mr Jarvis continued, “Black Sky Aerospace have been a great partner in our development so far in offering us access to a suitable inland site and invaluable expertise that we hope will lead to an ongoing commercial collaboration that forwards space access in both countries.”

CEO and founder of Black Sky aerospace, Blake Nikolic said, “Australia is playing an increasing role in the world’s space ambitions and we are playing a significant role in enabling access to an efficient, cost-effective service”

“…This campaign with Raptor Aerospace will drive additional export opportunities of Black Sky Aerospace’s technology, whilst solidifying Australia’s position as the place to conduct research and testing, before undertaking expensive orbital launches,” continued Nikolic.

Raptor Aerospace is headquartered in Norfolk, UK and provides practical training, simulation and small launch vehicles to the UK and greater European space industry and are committed to preparations that support the UK’s space industry in the coming decade. Black Sky Aerospace is a leading manufacturer of aerospace products and launch provider in Australia with access up to and through controlled airspace.

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