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Queensland town Bowen could become a hub for private space travel 

The Queensland town of Bowen is the ‘ideal’ place in Australia to become a hub for private space travel in a similar vein to billionaire Elon Musk‘s SpaceX program. 

CQUniversity Dean of Research Professor Steven Moore has proposed a commercial satellite launch complex called Launch Whitsunday to be built in the Abbot Point State Development Area near Bowen.

He is currently in talks with the Queensland state government, local councils and Gold Coast rocket producer Gilmour Space to get the project running. 

‘The Bowen region of Queensland is an excellent location for a launch base, being only 20 degrees south of the equator, rockets can harness the earth’s rotation to slingshot eastward to achieve both equatorial and polar orbits with less fuel,’ Professor Moore told .

The Queensland town of Bowen (pictured) in the Whitsunday region is an 'excellent' and 'ideal' place to become a hub for private space travel in a similar vein to billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX program

The Queensland town of Bowen (pictured) in the Whitsunday region is an ‘excellent’ and ‘ideal’ place to become a hub for private space travel in a similar vein to billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX program

Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off in Cape Canaveral in the US. Unlike the US, Australia does not have any commercial launching facilities at all

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off in Cape Canaveral in the US. Unlike the US, Australia does not have any commercial launching facilities at all

Professor Moore said a space hub in Queensland would make the Australian industry more competitive with the US and create thousands of jobs. 

CQUniversity Dean of Research Professor Steven Moore (pictured) has proposed a commercial satellite launch complex called Launch Whitsunday to be built in the Abbot Point State Development Area near Bowen

CQUniversity Dean of Research Professor Steven Moore (pictured) has proposed a commercial satellite launch complex called Launch Whitsunday to be built in the Abbot Point State Development Area near Bowen

‘One of the biggest gaps Australia has in the space industry in comparison to the US is not having a commercial launch facility,’ Professor Moore told the Bulletin. 

‘If this proposal goes ahead all the different satellite and rocket companies around Australia and the world will be able to utilise the complex. 

‘The State Government has a plan for our economic recovery post-COVID-19 and space is an important part of the economy as we move forward. 

‘The space industry could create up to 6000 new high-value jobs for Queenslanders.’ 

Earlier this year, the state government revealed its plans to contribute $8 million to the Queensland Space Industry 2020-2025.  

Professor Moore has also proposed a space research centre at CQU Mackay Ooralea to stimulate interest in the growing industry.  

Students would learn about satellite development, Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) education, remote sensing applications and communications. 

Space-themed education can also translate into other fields such as agriculture, environmental science, business, law and tourism, according to Professor Moore. 

American billionaire Elon Musk at a SpaceX press conference. Mr Musk is currently in a 'billionaire space race' with Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Yuri Milner

American billionaire Elon Musk at a SpaceX press conference. Mr Musk is currently in a ‘billionaire space race’ with Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Yuri Milner

Professor Moore’s proposal comes amid a billionaire space race between four of the world’s richest men.

American billionaire Elon Musk has a space travel venture called SpaceX while fellow US billionaire Jeff Bezos has sub-orbital spaceflight service Blue Origin. 

British billionaire Richard Branson also has a sub-orbital spaceflight service, Virgin Galactic, and Russian magnate Yuri Milner wants a fleet of spacecraft to travel to another star system in a project known as Breakthrough Starshot. 

Currently, the Australian space industry is receiving increased support from the federal government. 

Earlier this month, the federal government issued $11 million in grants to various space programs including almost $4 million for Melbourne University’s nano-satellite project. 

Last week, UNSW Canberra launched the M2 Pathfinder satellite into orbit, which has been praised as a ‘milestone for the local space industry’. 

The Abbot Point State Development Area near Bowen, which is where Professor Moore proposes a satellite launch complex be built

The Abbot Point State Development Area near Bowen, which is where Professor Moore proposes a satellite launch complex be built

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