Rocky road to space looks pos­si­bil­ity

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRIS HONNERY

THE Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is keen to look at am­bi­tious plans to build a space­port at Rock­hamp­ton, backed by a US aero­space com­pany.

The De­part­ment of In­dus­try, In­no­va­tion and Sci­ence said it had been talk­ing to Rock­hamp­ton’s John Moody and an­tic­i­pated a for­mal pro­posal would be lodged soon.

Mr Moody has also brought on board US space­craft man­u­fac­turer In­teror­bital Sys­tems, which planned to visit Rock­hamp­ton some­time this year.

The Moody Space Cen­tre would be Aus­tralia’s first com­mer­cial launch pad and has re­vived mem­o­ries of for­mer Queens­land premier Sir Joh Bjelke- Petersen’s Cape York space agency plan in the 1980s.

At the time, the Cape York In­ter­na­tional Space­port would have be­come the world’s first com­mer­cial space fa­cil­ity, but even­tu­ally it fell through be­cause of fi­nan­cial trou­bles.

Uni­ver­sity of Queens­land sci­ence pro­fes­sor Dr Michael Drinkwa­ter said Rock­hamp­ton was in a good ge­o­graphic po­si­tion.

“Amer­ica launches their rock­ets from Florida and Europe launches from Africa, so the closer to the equa­tor the bet­ter,” he said.

“If we were to have a launch pad in Aus­tralia, I’d say Rock­hamp­ton would be up there ( ge­o­graph­i­cally).”

Mr Moody said he was wait­ing on gov­ern­ment fund­ing to help get his idea off the ground.

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