Countdown on for SA rocket launch

Steven Marshall says the launch of a rocket from Koonibba Test Range is an important day for SA.
Steven Marshall says the launch of a rocket from Koonibba Test Range is an important day for SA.

A small rocket is scheduled to blast off from a launch facility in South Australia, marking the nation's first major foray into space for decades.

Southern Launch has set 11:59 am (CST) on Tuesday to fire off its first TED-01 DART rocket from the Koonibba Test Range on SA's west coast.

The TED-01 DART is 3.4 metre, two-stage rocket which will carry a miniature sensing device to an altitude of about 85 kilometres, before both fall back to earth.

The rocket's payload is less than 27 centimetres long, but with its suite of antennas will conduct an important sensing mission to detect and identify specific radar signals.

Premier Steven Marshall says Tuesday's launch is an important day for South Australia and comes after the government's significant investment to help develop a national space industry.

"This is the first space capable rocket launch in Australia for decades and decades," the premier said.

Australian Associated Press