Qld govt to support rocket launch site

·2-min read

The Queensland government will back a rocket launch facility in the state's north coast and potentially multiple facilities in a bid to see economic recovery from COVID-19 lift-off.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says a technical and environmental assessment has found the Abbot Point site suitable for small-scale rocket launches.

He says the government will work with proponent Gilmour Space Technologies and locals to develop the launch facility near the Abbot Point coal terminal.

"Growing our space industry in Queensland will add billions to the economy and create thousands of local jobs. That's why we are committed the development of launch infrastructure," Mr Miles said in a statement on Thursday.

"Our easterly-facing position, proximity to the equator, and our leading launch and propulsion companies make Queensland the perfect place to invest in space."

Mr Miles said other potential launch sites in Queensland would also be considered, with Sydney-based CosmoVision Global Corporation seeking approval to start building a launch facility in Cape York.

The "space port" would be used to launch rockets weighing more than 400 tonnes and powered by non-toxic fuel.

The CosmoVision proposal is yet to get a green light from state or federal governments or nearby Indigenous groups, or pass essential environmental requirements.

Despite the many necessary approvals, the corporation said it has already secured "international launch vehicles" and has global investors lined up.

CosmoVision plans to launch satellites for commercial telecommunications among other uses.

Mr Miles said the state government is open to supporting multiple launch facilities across the state.

"Having multiple launch facilities would be a huge drawcard for Queensland, which would undoubtedly bring more global players and jobs to the state," the deputy premier said.

"Investing in priority industries like space is a part of our economic recovery plan."

Queensland's Strategic Defence Advisor for Aerospace, retired Air Vice-Marshal Neil Hart, said launch facilities were needed to develop a sovereign space capability.

"There is considerable interest in leveraging the geographic advantage of an East coast launch from low latitudes," Mr Hart said.

"Identifying a site along the Queensland coast with the potential to launch multiple and large payloads to a range of nationally significant orbits would be a significant contribution to Australia's growing space capabilities."