An Australian solid rocket fuel manufacturer has blasted off from its private test and launch site with a rocket and a static fire of a missile motor. Brisbane-based Black Sky Aerospace launched its rocket near Goondiwindi in southern Queensland to test out launch and vehicle systems as part of its fast-track development of a sovereign Australian space-launch capability.
Black Sky CEO Blake Nikolic said the launches would provide crucial Test and Evaluation (T&E) data for its sovereign-owned and -operated vehicles to be launched into space from next year. “This is our third in a series of T&E rocket launches, as we continue development of our in-house avionics and telemetry systems,” Nikolic said. “This helps prove out and refine our ability to track the rockets through flight and allows us to check performance of our hardware and software systems.”
The Sighter 150 rocket flew to a height of almost 30,000 feet in less than 30 seconds carrying a software payload for a cyber security customer, allowing it to advance its own Level of Technical Readiness. The company also tested a missile motor, burning through 24 kilograms of rocket fuel in about nine seconds.
“This was a ‘static fire’; where we hold the missile motor in place and let it roar,” Nikolic said. “This allows us to prove out the propellant and the energetics – what makes the missiles fly through the air. We are also looking at the performance characteristics of the unique composite manufacturing hardware we use for the rocket motor hardware.”
Black Sky Aerospace is preparing to assist with Australia’s sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise once Government announces its preferred approach.