First commercial rocket launched from Aus

Tiffanie TurnbullAAP
A commercial rocket has been launched in South Australia as part of the Air Force's Plan Jericho.
Camera IconA commercial rocket has been launched in South Australia as part of the Air Force's Plan Jericho.

A small commercial rocket has been launched from Australia to the edge of space for the first time.

The DART rocket, carrying an Air Force radio prototype, was launched from the Koonibba Rocket Range in South Australia on Saturday.

At just 3.4 metres long and 34 kilograms, the commercial rocket is a fraction of the size of rockets launched by NASA.

The launch is part of the Air Force's Plan Jericho - an advanced sensing program to detect and track challenging targets which has also seen a high altitude balloon launched to the edge of space.

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said the launch marks the start of an exciting future for Australia's space capability.

"The rocket is unlike any rocket ever launched in Australia, and is part of what is known as 'New Space' technologies - small rockets carrying reduced sized satellites using commercially available technologies," she said in a statement.

The federal government is investing $7 billion in growing Australia's space capabilities over the next decade.

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