The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has conducted the first of a series of launch trials of high-altitude balloons from West Wyalong in New South Wales (NSW).

The trials will demonstrate the ADF’s capability to deploy sensors and communications equipment into the untapped altitudes of stratosphere. 

Conducted in close consultation with the Civilian Aviation Safety Authority, the trials are expected to generate new opportunities for local businesses in the defence sector.

Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said: “The trial aims to demonstrate Australian designed and developed launch capabilities that can deliver and maintain sensor payloads to an altitude that significantly improves situational awareness over a wide area.

“Having these high-altitude balloons as part of Australia’s sovereign capability means that we could deploy advanced sensors into the atmosphere quickly and cost-effectively, giving our forces comprehensive data in the air, on the ground, or at sea.” 

The Australian Government is using innovative ideas to educate and encourage more children to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.

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With the help of the trials, the Australian forces demonstrate the application of science and advanced technologies to a broader audience.

Australian Minister for Industry Science and Technology Karen Andrews said: “This event is sure to capture the imagination of our young people who are fascinated by aerospace.

“The fact that these launches are happening right here in our backyard gives Australians a real sense of the incredible opportunities and career pathways that are available.”