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Innospace secures launch point in Australia

By Moon Joon-hyun

Published : Aug. 18, 2023 - 09:26

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The Arnhem Space Centre in Northern Territory, Australia (Innospace) The Arnhem Space Centre in Northern Territory, Australia (Innospace)

Innospace, a South Korean startup specializing in hybrid space rockets and small satellites, announced Thursday that it secured a five-year agreement with Equatorial Launch Australia, a space launch services provider, to conduct orbital launches from the provider’s Arnhem Space Centre for its HANBIT family of launch vehicles.

The contract, lasting until December 2028, guarantees ELA's assistance in securing an Australian launch permit for the company, increasing optimal launch sites for its satellites on multiple continents.

Located 12 degrees south of the equator in Australia’s Northern Territory, the ASC's proximity to the equator is expected to improve launch efficiency, enabling Innospace satellites to take greater advantage of the Earth's maximum rotational speed at the equator. This would also reduce rocket fuel consumption and increase satellite capacity per launch.

The proximity also offers versatility that allows launches into diverse orbits that support multiple satellite mission types.

Furthermore, the ASC's isolated location, with minimal maritime and aerial traffic and a sparse population, ensures safer, uninterrupted launches.

Having finalized a contract with the Brazilian Air Force for the Alcantara Space Center in October 2022, this new partnership with ELA marks another addition to Innospace’s international launch sites. The firm is also exploring potential launch locations in Europe, such as Norway's Andoya Space Center, and within Korea to meet the rising demand for small satellite launches.

In March 2023, Innospace successfully launched its test vehicle, the HANBIT-TLV, from Brazil's Alcantara Space Center. It has laid firm groundwork for HANBIT-Nano, the company's commercial small satellite expected to launch in 2024.

“Following the success of HANBIT-TLV, we have been gearing up for the HANBIT-Nano's commercial debut. Securing launch sites in multiple continents, like the ASC in Australia, is vital for offering rapid, cost-effective launch services to differentiate our company in the space market in the future," said Innospace CEO Kim Soo-jong.