The first commercial rocket was launched from Australia to the edge of space on Saturday carrying a payload that will aid in the countrys space and defence efforts.
The DART rocket payload deployed a prototype radio frequency receiver unit designed for the Royal Australian Air Force (Air Force) at 100 kilometres above the Earths surface.
The sensors will provide information from the upper atmosphere to improve Australian defence forces situational awareness in battlefields and in difficult and hard to reach areas of operation.
The rocket was launched from the new commercial Southern Launch Koonibba Rocket Range in South Australia is a collaboration between the Air Force and Australian industry partners Southern Launch and DEWC Systems.
RAAF Group Captain Tobyn Bearman said the Air Force was very interested in seeing the next step of where the new sensors could take Defence.
“These are next generation sensors that were exploring,” Capt. Bearman said.
Bearman said it was important to build up and support Australias sovereign defence capabilities, such as the work being done by Southern Launch and DEWC Systems. “Ive said to the men and women that I work with that theres never been a more exciting time to be in Defence,” he said.
Ian Spencer, DEWC Systems chief executive officer, told the ABC in August that the launch will help build the capacity to make Australias defence force self-reliant.
Linda Reynolds, Australias federal defence minister, said space was an increasingly important domain.
“The payload, carried on a DART rocket, provides a stepping stone for Air Force to explore how advanced rapidly deployable networked sensors can be employed to provide information across Defence networks,” Reynolds said in a media release on Sept. 19.
The prototype deployed by the rocket was developed by South Australian electronic warfare contractor DEWC Systems and sponsored by the Air Forces Plan Jericho.
The payload—which is about the size of a whiteboard marker—will reportedly reach the edge of space and fall back down to Earth having deployed a parachute.
The rocket launch forms part of Plan Jerichos advanced sensing program to detect and track challenging targets.
Plan Jericho is an Air Force effort to use augmented intelligence—including linking humans with machines—to counter technologically sophisticated and rapidly morphing threats that require fast responses.
Melissa Price, the minister for defence industry, said the DART rocket launch was a partnership between the government and industry.
“The rocket is unlike any rocket ever launched in Australia, and is part of what is known as New Space technologies—small rockets carrying reduced sized satellites using commercially available technologies,” she said.
At just 3.4 metres long and weighing 34 kilograms (about 75 pounds) the DART rocket is a fraction of Read More – Source