Southern Launch strives to be the Polar Earth Orbit launch operator of choice as well as provide fit for purpose, robust and cost effective space vehicle ascent avionics.
Australia is in danger of being left behind in the space race. Although Australian GDP contributes 1.8% of the global economy, Australia only owns 0.8% of the global space economy. Since 2015 the global space economy has grown at a rate of 9.52% per annum compared to a world GDP growth rate of 2.87% and Australian GDP growth of less than 2%. Of key interest is that the worldwide small satellite industry is expected to grow from 28 satellites launched in 2008 to over 3000 by 2020 representing a very large technology investment that will surpass the total number of satellites already on orbit around the Earth. This exponential growth in satellite use is indicative of the shift in focus away from space being used primarily for Defence applications towards commercial Earth observation operations that now consume 73% of all satellite operations as of 2016.
Due to advances in satellite technologies, operations that were historically only possible using large spacecraft operating in Geostationary Earth Orbits (GEO), are now possible with small nano- and micro-satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). This spacecraft orbit altitude change from approximately 36000km down to 1000km, with the resulting reduction in requisite satellite size from more than 500kg to less than 100kg, represents an order of magnitude reduction in design, construction and launch costs. This has reduced the barrier to entry for satellite design and manufacture allowing Australian universities and small startups to enter the market.
With the closure of motor vehicle manufacturing in Australia there is a need for a refocus on newer, more futuristic technologies. The known multiplicative effect of investments in the high technology space industry has across the broader economy provides Australia with the opportunity to become a gateway to space and and international leader in space technologies.
All photographs courtesy of NASA