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Eyre Peninsula rocket launch delayed again

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For the second time this week, an Australian space company has been forced to abort a scheduled launch of a test rocket from the Eyre Peninsula – this time due to a last minute systems fault.

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The suborbital Hapith 1 rocket was supposed to launch from Southern Launch’s Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex yesterday, but at 2.18pm the countdown was halted just before lift off at T-34 minutes after one of the rocket’s systems failed to come online.

The rocket is owned by Taiwanese company TiSPACE and was set to be the first to blast off from Southern Launch’s proposed new launchpad facility as part of a government-approved test.

It has now been put into a safe state in accordance with safety protocols while TiSPACE and Southern Launch assess whether they can attempt another launch at a later date.

The launch was originally scheduled for Friday last week but it was aborted because of strong winds.

At the time, Southern Launch chief executive Lloyd Damp said the delay was a disappointment, but the launch window was still open until September 23.

The Whalers Way Oribital Launch Complex is in a conservation zone about 25-kilometres southwest of Port Lincoln.

Southern Launch plans to use the test launch to gather noise and vibration data to determine the impact of rocket launches on native wildlife while it waits on approval to build two permanent launchpads at the Whalers Way site.

The proposal has received significant backlash from conservationists and local residents, who argue a rocket launchpad complex should not be built in a conservation zone that is home to several state and federal-listed threatened bird species.

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