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Small Sounding Rocket Program (SSRP)

ASRI's Low-cost Payload Launch Service

The ASRI Small Sounding Rocket Program (SSRP) was initiated in the mid-1990s to provide Australian educational institutions from primary schools to universities with a high-acceleration rocket payload launch service at very low cost. The launch service provided by the SSRP was made available to individuals, companies and foreign universities. More recently, the SSRP has expanded to provide launch management and operation services for non-commercial organisations seeking assistance to launch their own vehicles.

zuni launch

Launch Vehicles

The SSRP currently utilizes two types of launch vehicles, both of which are based on surplus-to-requirement military rocket motors. To ensure safe operation, these motors are managed under a Surveillance and Service Life Program.

Launch Operations

SSRP launch campaigns are usually conducted twice a year from ASRI's launch facility at Launch Area 9 in the Woomera Test Range, South Australia, which is located around 500 km north of Adelaide.

Launch operations are conducted under the auspices of a Range Usage Agreement between ASRI and the Commonwealth of Australia and in accordance with the SSRP Safety and Operations Plan (SOP).

Details and pictures of payloads and launch campaigns that have been run and are being planned can be found here.

Attending a Campaign

In order to attend a trials campaign you must be cleared to do so in accordance with Defence Access protocol. If this is not done at least 40 days prior to the campaign you will not be eligible to attend the campaign.

ALL visitors to any campaign must be Australian Citizens, Non Nationals may apply for exemption, to know how contact the SSRP Manager Mandatory details include full name, date of birth and citizenship.

Please note: All visitors must remain in the vicinity of Launch Area 9 until the day's proceedings have been completed (approximately 1800) - unescorted departures are no longer permitted. Range photo protocol must be observed at ALL times. Non compliance could result in prosecution under federal law.

Launch Service Fees

ASRI charges a fee for each payload launch, the fee depends on the type of organisation. The current fee schedule is shown below. These fees cover ASRI's expenses in:

  • running launch campaigns
  • maintaining appropriate Public Liability and launch crew insurance coverage
  • the upkeep of the payload module fleet
  • ensuring that the testing and inspection requirements of the Surveillance and Service Life Program for the rocket motors are met
Launch Fee
ASRI individual members  
Australian Primary and secondary schools  
Australian universities  
Australian non-profit organisations  
Australian Commercial organisations  
International universities  
Other organisations  

Building and Launching a Payload

Technical Requirements

Payloads built for launch aboard an ASRI sounding rocket must satisfy certain basic requirements which are detailed in the Payload Users Guide (PUG).

ASRI is able to provide payload developers with reasonable assistance with ensuring interface and safety requirements are met provided the preparation and notification schedule requirements as defined in the PUG are adheared to. You will also need to fill in and return appendix D which is conveniently available here as a word document.

Additionally, the attached brief report provides some basic design data for joints and couplings in payloads launched in the Australian Space Research Institute’s Small Sounding Rocket Program.

SSRP Patches

Cloth patches used by the SSRP Campaign are now available for purchase.

ASRI Logo patch is AU$10.00 while the Round shoulder patch is AU$15.00

contact Mike Nicholls

Patch ASRI logo
Patch SSRP shoulder

Further Information

For further information about building a payload and having it launched on an ASRI sounding rocket, please contact the Program Manager.

Richard Samuel Program Manager
Bernard Davison
Recovery Systems Manager
John Coleman
Payload Manager
Bruce Henderson
Safety Officer
Michael Nicholls
Safety Officer

ASRI-SSRP-PUG-Appendix-D-2008.doc265.5 KB
ASRI-SSRP-PUG-ver1f20090903.pdf1.05 MB
Payload bending loads with joints.pdf343.06 KB