The development of small-satellite technologies (SmallSats) has ushered in an era of dynamic and responsive space systems. Hundreds, and soon thousands, of these small platforms will be launched into Low Earth Orbits (LEO) every year. LEO are ideal for Earth-Observation missions and other near-earth activities, including internet with global coverage. Approximately half of these SmallSats are projected to be launched into polar orbits, with the other half orbiting around the equator. According to recent estimates by an SSTL study, close to 1000 SmallSats will be launched annually from 2025 onwards. These satellites will be inserted into new and existing LEO constellations, offering innovative services to the world, while actively limiting the proliferation of space debris in orbits. SmallSats in LEO remain there for less than 3 years before burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Historically, launch sites have been constructed closer to the equator to support large satellites launches into equatorial orbit. However, direct launch to polar orbit is achieved most efficiently from launch sites nearer the poles, which have minimal interference from aviation and maritime traffic. Southern Launch, founded in 2017, is developing a multi-user launch complex at the tip of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, offering a turn-key launch service solution to polar and sun-synchronous orbit. In addition to providing the complete launch infrastructure, Southern Launch has the ability to undertake flight and range safety, vehicle design, and avionics, while assisting with launch permitting and other support services. The year-round temperate weather, coupled with the skilled local workforce and a robust logistics supply network, enables a launch site that offers high-cadence launch operations at cost-competitive prices.