Locals and tourists in the Whitsunday region of Australia could soon be watching rockets launching into space, with the Queensland government announcing their support for the local space launch industry.
In a statement, Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Steven Miles, said, “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. 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 announcement follows a technical and environmental study commissioned on Abbot Point last year, which concluded that the site is suitable for small-scale launch vehicles.
Enter Gilmour Space Technologies, a venture-funded rocket company on Australia’s Gold Coast that is developing lower cost rockets to launch smallsats into LEO starting in 2022.
“Gilmour Space Technologies has expressed an interest in the site (and) we are keen to work with the team at Gilmour and local stakeholders,” said Mr Miles.
Launching on Gilmour’s first Eris rocket next year will be several Australian payloads, including a ‘space taxi’ by Sydney-based Space Machines Company and a fire detection satellite by Fireball International, another Queensland company on the Sunshine Coast.
“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.
The company is also looking at a proposed launch site in South Australia for complementary polar orbits, in line with their vision to achieve ‘All Orbits, All Planets.’
“Our next step is to continue to work with key stakeholders to get all the necessary approvals we need to proceed on building and operating an orbital launch facility at Abbot Point,” said Mr Gilmour. “With sufficient and timely support, I see no reason why we can’t be demonstrating key, sovereign space capability next year, launching our first Australian-made rocket, with Australian payloads, from an Australian launch site.”