HYPER SONIC TRAVEL PLAN

The Cooloola Coast has been touted as an ideal lo­ca­tion for a fu­ture space launch site

The Gympie Times - - FRONT PAGE - SCOTT KOVACEVIC scott.kovacevic@gympi­etimes.com

THE Cooloola coast­line could rocket Queens­land’s space pro­gram into the fu­ture with lead­ing re­searchers tag­ging the re­gion as an ideal spot for a launch site.

As part of sub­mis­sions made into a State Gov­ern­ment job cre­ation in­quiry on the es­tab­lish­ment of an Aus­tralian space in­dus­try last month, Univer­sity of Queens­land Pro­fes­sor Michael Smart said Queens­land’s com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage in scram­jet tech­nol­ogy – hy­per­sonic en­gine tech­nol­ogy with the po­ten­tial to reach 15 times the speed of sound – favoured a re­us­able launch site.

And he knew the per­fect po­si­tion.

“The coastal re­gion near Gympie would be an ideal place.”

At an in­quiry pub­lic hear­ing on Oc­to­ber 19, Prof Smart said the re­gion of­fered sev­eral unique traits which would suit a launch site for hy­per­sonic en­gines and even small satel­lites.

Th­ese in­cluded a lat­i­tude “sim­i­lar to the Florida site for the Kennedy Space Cen­tre”, a “clear and safe path over the ocean”, and that the airspace was “al­ready un­der de­fence ju­ris­dic­tion and could be eas­ily con­trolled”.

Not that they were the only ben­e­fits.

“It is a great place where launch site staff and fam­i­lies could live,” he said.

As it would be a re­us­able launch sys­tem that “does not drop rock­ets into the ocean”, Prof Smart said it made safety and plan­ning a lot eas­ier.

It would also bring tourism to the re­gion.

Prod­ucts for In­dus­try’s spe­cial projects man­ager Nick Green told the panel there had al­ready been dis­cus­sions about the use of a Rain­bow Beach land­ing strip. “Gympie Re­gional Coun­cil have al­ready talked to me and they are quite happy for us to be do­ing some things out there.”

And the de­fence force has al­ready given them per­mis­sion to use the airspace.

The panel was told the coun­cil has job growth anal­y­sis on build­ing a launch fa­cil­ity for $10 mil­lion, how­ever, it ap­pears the coun­cil it­self did not make a sub­mis­sion to the hear­ing.

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