QLD site could be our Cape Canaveral
GOLD Coast sites - including idyllic Stradbroke Island - are being pushed as locations for a rocket launching facility and Australia's answer to NASA's Cape Canaveral.
That's the message from a leading Pimpama-based space company which says the city is in the perfect location to send craft into orbit.
Gilmour Space Technologies says a launch site, also known as a spaceport or cosmodrome is an essential piece of national infrastructure for Australia's space industry to get off the ground.
Among the locations being pitched are Stradbroke Island, Rockhampton and Mackay.
Director James Gilmour said coastal locations in Queensland offered more fuel-
efficient orbital inclination choices than any other continental launch sites on the planet.
"Timing is everything and the state is looking at creating a locally-based spaceport while there have recently also been industry discussions," he said.
"The orbital mechanics of putting something in space is very conducive to Queensland - there's the favourable climate, the location of the sea, land and air traffic around the sites and ease of access and proximity of industry.
"Of course Stradbroke Island would be very conducive to these things, especially on heavy infrastructure and tourist infrastructure - just look at Cape Canaveral.
"With space the sky is no longer the limit."
Mr Gilmour said his company was in talks with both the northern cities about the potential for launch sites.
A small, low-cost rocket launch range would cost less than $10 million and would have the potential to be expanded over time.
The site would be around 800m long and 300m wide and could employ around 20 people.
Mr Gilmour said a launch range was an investment which would have be a catalyst for Australia tapping into a much large slice of the global space industry, valued at $350 billion.
A Gold Coast conference of space industry scientists was told in September that Australia's space industry would be worth $12 billion by 2030
The company hopes to annually launch around 12 rockets by 2022.
It's been a busy year for the company, founded in 2012 by brothers Adam and James Gilmour.
In September the company received a $19 million funding boost which will be used to further develop its low-cost rockets and launch vehicles to send small to medium-sized satellites into low-earth orbit.
The company also announced plans to propose at least one potential space mission to the Australian Space Agency (ASA) by December in a bid to help chart the nation's course to the stars.
At a cost of $30 million and over a mission period of four to five years, the company has proposed doing at least one of the following missions:
* A fly-by or orbit of a near-Earth object such as an asteroid.
* A solar sail-powered mission to the Moon.
* A solar sail mission to Phobos, Mars's largest moon.
The Federal Government has allocated $15 million over three years for collaborative research with other space-faring nations.