One small step for The Whitsundays, a giant leap for space exploration.

DREAMS of a future job in space might not be light years away.

The Mackay Isaac Whitsunday region may just become home base to a new launch facility at Abbot Point 30km from Bowen.

As part of an action under the Queensland Space Industry Strategy 2020-2025, the Queensland Government undertook a technical and environmental investigation of the potential for Abbott Point to host a space launch facility.

Part of the investigation found the site within the Abbott Point State Development Area (SDA) may be suitable for small-scale launch activities.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said Queensland has plenty of home-grown advantages in the emerging space industry.

“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 technical and environmental investigation into the opportunity to launch space rockets from Abbot Point has found this particular site is suitable for small-scale launch vehicles,” Mr Miles said.

Gilmour Space Technologies has expressed an interest in this site and the Queensland Government are keen to work with the Gilmour team and regional stakeholders.

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.

Gilmour Space Technologies co-founder and Head of Launch Operations, James Gilmour said a launch site at Abbot Point would give their customers a range of valuable orbits, inclinations, and altitudes they will require.

“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.”  

Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said developing a launch site at Abbott Point would deliver a huge economic boost for the region and create hundreds of permanent job opportunities for Bowen and Whitsunday residents.

“For too long Bowen has been the next ‘boom town’ in north Queensland so adding a space launch site to our expanding agriculture, mining and tourism sectors will be a game-changer for our region,” Mr Willcox said.


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