Southern Launch, acting as launch service provider for DEWC Systems, has selected the T-Minus Engineering DART rocket to launch DEWC’s prototype payload on a parabolic trajectory into space at the Koonibba Rocket Test Range later this year.
Selection of the DART rocket was based on DEWC Systems’ requirements. Southern Launch then developed mathematical flight performance models of the DART, optimised the rocket flight trajectories to meet the DEWC Systems’ payload requirements, and developed the range safety exclusion areas in consultation with the traditional owners across the Koonibba Test Range.
Southern Launch also developed all documentation and sourced all regulatory approvals from all Australian State and Federal regulatory bodies to import, store and operate the rockets.
“This exciting launch was triggered by a simple chat in early 2019 about the possibility of working on a project that will bring together South Australian companies to demonstrate our collective capabilities,” says DEWC Systems CEO Ian Spencer.
The rocket, unlike any ever launched in Australia, will carry DEWC Systems’ prototype electronic sensor payload that will enable us to detect and identify specific radar signals.
“Using the DART gives us easy and cost-effective access to space and has helped us to hone our skills in electronics optimisation and miniaturisation.”
The DART rocket will carry DEWC’s payload – the DEWC-SP1 – into space before being released from the launch container and descending to Earth.
The DEWC-SP1 itself is less than 27cm long, 3cm in diameter and weighs less than 500 grams. This tiny payload will conduct an important sensing mission as it falls to Earth, paving the way for future planned developments by DEWC Systems.
The miniaturised suite of antennas, sensors and communication links will endure up to 50 times its own weight due to the G-forces at launch, freezing temperatures in space and extreme heat as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere at up to five times the speed of sound.
The mission will provide much needed performance data and demonstrate the functionality of these types of systems for a variety of applications.
“The T-Minus Engineering DART rocket is based on a tried and tested design and is the perfect candidate rocket to use when demonstrating an incremental space launch capability,” says Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp.
“With safety to people and the environment as our key priority, the DART rocket allows us to first launch the rocket to 85km and then, with only changing the angle at which we launch the rocket, fly above 100km.”
T-Minus Engineering co-founder Roel Eerkens says the DART rocket is a very efficient way of reaching space altitudes.
“For us, as a rocket building company, launching the more interesting payloads also requires the most thought. The payload by DEWC Systems is unique in its won right and challenges us in different ways,” he says.
“Australia has a great heritage with launching rockets from Woomera. By joining DEWC Systems and Southern Launch, we hope to catch the wave of commercialisation of space and increased defence, commercial and STEM interest in the latest frontier.”