Queensland Plans Abbot Point Space Launch Site


Queensland is hoping to boost its $760 million space industry with a new rocket launch site in the Whitsunday region.

The Abbot Point orbital rocket launch site has been identified by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and the state government based on a range of technical, operational, environmental and infrastructure-related considerations.

The area near Bowen is currently known for Australia’s most northern coal export port used by Adani and the end point of the Carmichael Rail Network.

The Queensland government has been eager to tap into the space industry after announcing an $8 million strategy earlier this year.

The strategy included satellite ground stations in the outback and sites along the coastline for launch along with multiple locations for observation, space enabled services, robotics and automation.

▲Queennsland's space industry plans to have the rocket launch site based in Abbots Point. Image: North Queensland Bulk Ports Corp
▲Queennsland's space industry plans to have the rocket launch site based in Abbots Point. Image: North Queensland Bulk Ports Corp

Companies such as Gilmour Space Technologies, Black Sky Aerospace, Hypersonix and Valiant Space already operate in state and the global space industry is expected to grow to US$42.8 billion by 2028.

A Deloitte Access Economics report found that a launch site and space-related infrastructure would be catalytic for the space industry, providing more research, development and market opportunities.

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Economic impacts of Queensland space industry

Industry OutputHigh Productivity ScenarioModerate Productivity Scenario
Gross state product$6bn$3.5bn
Employment2700 jobs1800 jobs
Broadacre cropping$1.2bn$680m
Transport and logistics$1.7bn$810m

^ Source: Deloitte Access Economics, projection 2019-2036

State member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said investment into the space industry was a vital part to the state’s economic recovery efforts by tapping into the multi-trillion dollar industry.

“I’m delighted organisations in the region have expressed interest in the development of a launch site at Abbot Point,” Gilbert said.

“These next steps will involve a detailed technical and due diligence on the proposed site to confirm the location is suitable for a space launch facility.”

Qld strategic defence advisor for aerospace Neil Hart AM said Queensland companies and its research sector are leading the nation in space launch vehicle development.

“Queensland’s space industry has been calling for space launch infrastructure here in Queensland, to take it to lift off and firm up Australia’s sovereign capability,” the retired air vice-marshal said.

“This could be an awe-inspiring opportunity for the region and Queensland, bringing more jobs and new career paths for the workforce.”

Queensland is in the space industry race with the Northern Territory who announced a strategy and launch site late last year.

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