Rockets Fire in the West

Westmar became the scene for a launch of Queensland into the space race with leading aerospace company Black Sky Aerospace successfully testing their Sighter190 rocket there this week.

Black Sky Aerospace
The Sighter190 research rocket is the first in Australia to catapult a commercial payload sky high.

The four-metre long rocket blasted to an altitude of around 17,000 feet and reached 1.2 times the speed of sound at top speed.

The rocket was carrying a sensor suite from Hypersonix, another leading Queensland aerospace venture which has grown out of the world-leading scramjet work being undertaken at The University of Queensland.

Sensor packages from the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research and DEKUNU Technologies were also on-board Black Sky Aerospace’s rocket.

Black Sky Aerospace Director of Operations Blake Nikolic says the benefits of Australia launching its own rockets includes revenue into local supply chains, ease of international regulatory burdens and decreased turnaround times.

“With a global market worth US$360 billion seeing exponential growth, Australia will naturally benefit by companies like BSA supporting the ever-growing satellite market and beyond.”
The test launch has been undertaken to test the g-force load on the sensors.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick says the launch was the first sub-orbital launch in the country with a commercial payload and would make use of the Logan-based company’s Rapid Deployment Sounding Rocket (RDSR) technology.

Queensland Government inaugural aerospace advisor and head of the Queensland Space Industry Reference Group, retired Air Vice Marshall Neil Hart AM, says Queensland already has the right foundations to develop a solid aerospace industry.

“By knitting together today’s launch success, Queensland’s advanced manufacturing capabilities and the work that is already being achieved through the government’s aerospace roadmap, there is clearly significant potential to develop a viable Queensland space industry.”