Spacelift is targeting a niche of the launch industry - payloads under 800 kilograms going into Low Earth Orbits. SpaceLift Australia plans to launch satellite payloads from Woomera in South Australia into LEO orbits using a modified Russian SS-25 missile converted to launch commercial payloads. A test launch is planned for 2001.
Spacelift Australia Ltd has signed an exclusive agreement with Russia for the provision of turn-key launch services, including solid fuel rockets. This would be the first time that Russia has provided complete launch service capability outside its own borders. The company plans to have at least two launch vehicles on-hand in addition to new launchers being built in Russia.
The launching vehicles on which Spacelift's rockets are based are said to be the most proven, accurate and reliable launch vehicles in their class with a track record of more than 400 accomplished launches (72 of them in the presence of foreign observers) with 98.4% accuracy.
Both the Commonwealth and South Australian Governments are very supportive of the project which will utilise Woomera and its existing infrastructure and create a $200 million plus industry for South Australia and 150 new jobs.
About SpaceLift Australia
SpaceLift Australia (SLA) is an Australian company formed to manage the supply of Space Launch Services. It works to coordinate the many elements that go to make up a successful launch business, including launch vehicles, customising launches, customer needs, government regulatory issues, safety and environmental management, logistical planning and launch site management. SLA is not a rocket science or an aviation company. It has been specifically established as a space launch management company.
The actual launch services available from SLA will be completely provided by arrangement with the Russian space agency, STC Complex MIHT, and its sub-agencies, acknowledged as world leaders in this field. It is a "turnkey" venture where SLA will provide comprehensive launch services purchased under contract from Russia and delivered complete. SLA is targeting the market niche of smaller satellites (principally for telecommunications) under 800 kg in payload going into Low Earth Orbits (from 200 km to 1000 km above the earth).
With extensive launch vehicle availability (from the Russian stockpile), SLA will change the way launch services are sold, from supply driven to customer driven. The launch vehicles are specifically suited to smaller payloads and have an excellent success record in positioning payloads. SLA has an exclusive supply agreement with Russia and it is the first time that Russia has agreed to provide complete launch services outside its own borders. These services will be provided at a secure, accessible and acceptable launch site at the world class facility at Woomera.
SLA regards the involvement of other space industry companies at Woomera as a bonus as it gives the Australian space industry a higher profile and proves that we can do it. There is room for a number of such projects at Woomera, which can co-exist and collaborate. SLA is targeting a micro-niche of the whole space launch market, whereas other currently proposed operations will cater for a much wider spread of payloads. Given the huge need for satellite launches, SLA is certain there will be plenty of customers for everyone.
So far SLA has completed the exploratory phase of establishing that what it is proposing is a viable business and what the potential might be. All facets, from market demand and specific customer interest to the potential of Woomera, environmental factors, regulatory issues and government attitudes, have been assessed. The next milestone will be the visit to Woomera by a team of Russian experts to undertake detailed scientific work to prepare for the technical aspects of the operational launching.
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Updated: Thursday 15th, August, 2013