Queensland to accelerate space industry

Photo: Gilmour Space Technologies

The Queensland government has released an action plan to accelerate the state’s space industry, and will invest $8 million to support the industry.

“Queensland has already gained a reputation as Australia’s space coast, and through this strategy our government is looking to unlock maximum benefit for local businesses and workers,” Minister for State Development, Cameron Dick, said.

“Our state has a respected high-tech aerospace industry, and is renowned globally for civil and military aviation, advanced manufacturing, and associated industries like mining equipment, technology and services (METS).

“This gives us a strong foundation to extend our reach when it comes to space-related activities such as robotics, automation, systems design, and the launching of payloads,” Dick said.

The state has a number of key space-related strengths to capitalise on, according to the Queensland Space Industry Strategy 2020-2025, including: advantageous location and weather conditions, existing industries and launch supply chain, remote internet and data backhaul services, and strong robotics, automation and manufacturing industries.

Based on these strengths, the government has developed a two-part action plan to grow Queensland’s space industry.

The first stage involves supporting the development of common-user infrastructure such as an orbital launch and static rocket testing facilities, satellite ground stations and a data analytics hub, promoting skills and career pathways, and assisting businesses in accessing supply chain opportunities and federal programs

The second part of the action plan involves helping businesses working in the space industry to reach larger markets both domestically and abroad. The focus will be on connecting with industries that stand to benefit from space-enabled services like remote sensing.

“Queensland’s space industry already supports 2000 jobs and generates $760 million in annual revenue through industry services like satellite communications, and we’re eager to build on these numbers,” Dick said.

“Our goal is to create up to 6000 new high-value jobs for Queenslanders and generate $6 billion annually for the state by 2036.

“Space technology also adds value to other areas of our economy, delivering increased productivity through Earth observation data and satellite positioning systems.

“For example, there is huge potential for key industries in Queensland to benefit from satellite data, to improve practices like land and fresh water management, and agricultural production.” 

The vast open space found in Queensland’s outback is perfect for locating satellite ground stations, while an extensive coastline and proximity to the equator are significant assets for the potential establishment of a launch site.

Australian launch vehicle developers – Gilmour Space Technologies, Black Sky Aerospace and Hypersonix – are all based in Queensland. These companies are developing small-to-medium launch platforms to meet the world’s growing demand for smaller satellites and rapid launch capability.

The global space economy is already worth US$345 billion and is forecast to grow to
US$1.1 trillion by 2040, while Australia’s space industry generates $3 billion to $4 billion in annual revenue and supports around 10,000 full-time equivalent jobs.