In just a few weeks, high-level dignitaries from around the world will gather in Cairns as preliminary work on Australia’s first large-scale, multi-use spaceport continues. Site works on the commercial space port and technology park are set to commence in mid-2024. Among the attendees will be heads of the Australian Space Agency, delegates from NASA, the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), key business leaders, and local, state, and federal politicians. They will participate in Space Centre Australia’s first North Queensland space workshop to learn more about the project and its economic benefits for the region and Australia.
According to Mr James Palmer, founder and CEO of Space Centre Australia, the project will be a significant investment in the region and create a new industry for FNQ that will sustain not only the town of Weipa and surrounding regions but also generations to come. The facility will inject an estimated $120 million into the Far Northern economy during the initial construction phase and an estimated $100 million per annum thereafter. Once operational, it will create up to 300 permanent jobs and thousands of construction and support jobs throughout its development.
The project, which has been in the works for the past five years, is well advanced in its planning. Mr Palmer stated that they chose to keep a low profile until this point to protect land, finances, and design feasibility before undertaking any serious construction work. They are continuously consulting with the Weipa community and Traditional Owner groups throughout the process.
The current construction timeline aims to have the launch facility ready for small-scale launch missions by the end of 2026 and large-scale launches by 2029. Mr Palmer said that the facility will be ready for large-scale Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) launch capabilities by the third quarter of 2029. The project will provide a clear pathway for the next generation to learn on-site and gain employment in the space industry. The site will support commercial operations as well as future potential Defense needs.
The North Queensland Space Workshop, sponsored by AusIndustry, will take place on April 21 at the Cairns Regional Council’s Civic Reception Room.
The event will be the first of many to be held throughout the region before construction begins to ensure the community is aware of how to get involved. For more information, visit https://spacecentreaustralia.com/media/.