Southern Launch partners with UK-based Space Forge for satellite test range

L-R: Rebecca Evernden, Director of Space, UK Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, Joshua Western, CEO and Co-Founder, Space Forge, Lloyd Damp, CEO, Southern Launch, Enrico Palermo, Head of the Australian Space Agency. Image credit: Southern Launch

Australian space launch provider Southern Launch has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UK-based Space Forge to explore possibilities of Satellite Return to Southern Launch’s Koonibba Test Range, further expanding the in-space manufacturing market. 

ForgeStar, a new small class of deployable vehicles that can be launched from standard launchers, is being developed by the company as part of a world-first service to enable this one, Southern Launch revealed in a news release. 

It aims to deliver quick, dependable, and reusable in-space infrastructure, and this year’s ForgeStar-1A satellite launch by Space Forge will allow them to demonstrate its reentry capabilities.

Speaking on the MoU, Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp commented, “This agreement with Space Forge heralds a new era in the Australian space industry.”

He said it is a definitive step forward in showcasing to the world the expertise and natural advantages the company has in South Australia.

The CEO added, “Space Forge will be looking to refurbish and launch their satellites as close as possible to the re-entry point. Our Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex is the natural solution for a launch site, and we will be exploring this option with Space Forge throughout the MoU process.” 

Likewise, Joshua Western, CEO and co-founder of Space Forge, commented that the partnership is a fantastic example of international collaboration – working together for the benefit of the global space industry.

Western said the Koonibba Test Range is a perfect alternative for the business model as a Southern Hemisphere re-entry point for our ForgeStar satellite due to its size and location. 

He further pointed out the cooperation has the potential to significantly boost economic growth and introduce cutting-edge technologies to both the UK and Australia.

“We are delighted to be announcing our collaboration and excited to grow our relationship with Lloyd and the team at Southern Launch,” Western added. 

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the global Space Symposium in Colorado Springs in the presence of the Australian Space Agency’s head, Enrico Palermo, and Rebecca Evernden, the UK Government’s Director of Space. 

Space Forge and Southern Launch will work together on the MoU in the following months, with the goal of announcing a cooperative mission by the end of the year.