Third time unlucky for SA rocket launch

A rocket set to lift-off from a facility on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula has caught fire on the pad, the third time in a week it has failed to launch.

© PR HANDOUT IMAGE PHOTO We do not have lift-off: The Hapith I rocket has again failed to leave the ground in SA.

After two previous unsuccessful attempts, Taiwanese company TiSPACE tried on Thursday to launch its Hapith I rocket from the Whalers Way site.

Previous efforts on Friday last week and on Wednesday were aborted, the first because of bad weather and the second due to a systems fault.

Southern Launch, which operates the Whalers Way facility, said the launch of the 10-metre, two-stage sub-orbital rocket was attempted again just after 4pm on Thursday, but an internal fault during ignition caused it to catch fire.

It said the fire was contained to the launch pad and was extinguished by Country Fire Service crews on the scene. There were no injuries. 

TiSPACE had planned to use the launch to test its hybrid propulsion systems, and as a prelude to commercial launches of satellites in the future.

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