Southern Launch abandons TiSPACE Hapith I rocket launches following three failed attempts at Whalers Way

SMOKE: An eyewitness took this image of smoke coming from the rocket launch site at Whalers Way last week. Southern Launch has abandoned plans to launch the Taiwanese TiSPACE Hapith I rocket. Photo: Supplied
SMOKE: An eyewitness took this image of smoke coming from the rocket launch site at Whalers Way last week. Southern Launch has abandoned plans to launch the Taiwanese TiSPACE Hapith I rocket. Photo: Supplied

Southern Launch will not launch the Taiwanese TiSPACE Hapith I rocket after multiple failed attempts.

The company had to abandon three attempts at firing the rocket from its Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex due to both weather and technological issues.

It had a launch attempt on Friday, September 10 which had to be called off due to strong winds, while another shot at firing the rocket on Wednesday, September 15 was halted as one of the systems did not come online.

A third attempt last Thursday saw the launch vehicle suffer an internal fault which caused it catch alight.

Despite the issues, Southern Launch chief executive officer Lloyd Damp said it did gain valuable information.

"This test launch vehicle may not have taken Australia to space, however it has provided our teams with valuable data and insights, which will lead TiSPACE in refining their launch vehicle capabilities further, and Southern Launch with the vibration and noise data needed to support the major development of the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex," he said.

"We thank the Australian Space Agency, the Government of South Australia, and the emergency services for their support of the VS01 test launch campaign.

"And, we thank all of the businesses and individuals who went above and beyond in their assistance to our teams during the test launch."

The company's use of Whalers Way has received backlash from some locals and environmentalists, with concerns about using a rocket launch site in a conservation zone that is home to a number of threatened bird species.

Southern Launch is now preparing for the next two proposed test launch campaigns at Whalers Way.

It has been granted approval for up to three rocket launches until December 31.