Queensland launch site viable for small rockets

By on 21 May, 2021

An artist’s impression of Gilmour Space Technologies’ proposed launch pad at Abbot Point. Courtesy Gilmour Space Technologies.

A technical and environmental investigation has shown that Abbot Point near Mackay is suitable for the operation of small-scale launch vehicles, putting Queensland one step closer to orbital launches.

“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,” said Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Steven Miles.

“Our easterly facing position, proximity to the equator, and our leading launch and propulsion companies make Queensland the perfect place to invest in space,” the Minister said.

Gilmour Space Technologies, which is developing a small launch vehicle called Eris, has expressed an interest in the site.

“A launch site at Abbot Point in North Queensland would give our customers a range of valuable orbits, inclinations, and altitudes that they will require,” said Gilmour Space co-founder and Head of Launch Operations, James Gilmour.

“We are keen to work with the team at Gilmour and local stakeholders,” the Minister added, adding that the state government is open to considering other potential launch sites.

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

Queensland’s Strategic Defence Advisor for Aerospace, Air Vice-Marshal Neil Hart (ret’d) said that “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.”

Minister Miles said that the next steps of the state government’s strategy will be to work with the space industry to support the development of a rocket engine test site and an Earth observation data analytics hub.

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