A 3D rendering of what the proposed launch site would look like.
A 3D rendering of what the proposed launch site would look like. Contributed

LIFTOFF? Space centre proposed for Darling Downs

A BOLD plan to blast satellites into orbit from the Darling Downs has been pitched by a commercial space company.

Moody Space Centre CEO John Moody confirmed to The Chronicle he had been in discussion with Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio about his proposal to build a space centre and launch pad within the Toowoomba region.

Mr Moody, who has another proposal to build a $25 million Moody Space Centre in Rockhampton, said the proposed Darling Downs facility would be designed for smaller rockets than its Central Queensland counterpart.

Space start-ups are a growing industry around the world and in Australia, and Mr Moody said the proposed centre would include a radar installation to track rockets, as well as a launch pad.

An example of the type of rockets that would launch from the proposed space centre.
An example of the type of rockets that would launch from the proposed space centre. Contributed

The rockets would be small enough to be transported on the back of a trailer, Mr Moody said, and would be used to launch cube satellites.

"They fit in the palm of your hand they're that small, that's what we'd be concentrating on and that's where we think the market is going to be," Mr Moody said.

"(Cube satellites) are used for everything from bird migration to searching for coal and precious minerals, tracking whales, and microgravity experiments."

Mr Moody said his proposal was self-funded, and he had applied for grants with government departments.

He also said American multinational engineering firm AECOM was working with him. Cr Antonio said Mr Moody had been in touch with Cr Nancy Sommerfield, as well as himself, and that Mr Moody had indicated he was "very keen to build a space centre in the Toowoomba region".

"His request to me in the absence of a business case, or formal approach, was that we consider giving him some $250,000 benefit and that we find land and give that to him for $1," Cr Antonio said.

"We can only consider things when a formal approach is made accompanied by a well-documented business case," he said.

"And of course, there would be quite a journey in terms of planning processes, budget processes in council, if we were to even consider it."

Cr Antonio said he was awaiting a formal proposal from Mr Moody.



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