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Gilmour Space mulling new launch site in Queensland

Charbel Kadib

The Queensland government is working with the firm to explore the potential for a new launch site in the state.

Gilmour Space mulling new launch site in Queensland
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Gilmour Space Technologies has reportedly expressed interest in opening a new launch site in Queensland, with the state government proposing Abbot Point, Mackay, as the potential home for the facility.

A technical and environmental investigation into the opportunity to launch space rockets from Abbot Point reportedly found that the site would be suitable for small-scale launch vehicles.

The Palaszczuk government confirmed it is working with Gilmour and local industry stakeholders to advance the project.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles noted the advantages of opening a new launch site in Queensland.

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“Growing our space industry in Queensland will add billions to the economy and create thousands of local jobs,” the minister said.

“That’s why we are committed to 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.”

Gilmour Space co-founder and head of launch operations, James Gilmour, said the new launch site would enhance the company's service offerings. 

“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,” he  said. 

Minister Miles added that the Queensland government would also consider other potential launch sites.

“We also want to position the state to have the potential to meet longer-term, broader industry requirements,” he said.

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

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

Queensland’s strategic defence advisor for aerospace, Air Vice-Marshal (Ret'd) Neil Hart, said new launch sites would help advance Australia's push to build sovereign space capability. 

“There is considerable interest in leveraging the geographic advantage of an East coast launch from low latitudes,” 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.”

Minister Miles said the government would also work with industry stakeholders to develop a rocket engine test site and an Earth observation data analytics hub.

“These projects align with Queensland’s strengths, will boost our economic recovery and will help ensure the growth of our space industry is all systems go,” he concluded. 

Gilmour Space is also exploring a proposed launch site in South Australia for complementary polar orbits. 

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