Palm Branch Group and its subsidiary, SpaceOz Pty Limited, have launched their project to establish Space Centre Australia near Weipa in far North Queensland.
The Canberra and Cairns-based Palm Branch Group has begun advanced design work on the first large scale multi-use spaceport, designed to be a collaboration centre for the advancement of the Australian and International Space Industry Sectors.
Worldwide investment in space companies hit a record $8.9 billion in 2020, the company says, adding Space Centre Australia will allow the benefits of this to be captured by the Australian economy. The location of the facility, with its low-cost access to space, will give Australia a competitive advantage in the race to win launches.
Space Centre Australia will have a mandate to ensure Australian Sovereign Capability and to maximise Australian industry content. Development of the space port will use locally based environmental, design, and construction partners.
Space Centre Australia infrastructure will be designed to accommodate small to large vertical launch vehicle systems and consists of a range of facilities:
- Launch Vehicle Development and Handling Centre
- 4 Launch Staging Pads
- Integrated Launch Control Centre
- Integrated Mission Control Centre
- Fuel Handling Facilities
- Datacentre Facilities
- Broadband Satellite Communications Facility
- Accommodation Facilities
- Administration Facilities
- Security Operations Centre
The Space Centre Australia facility will be delivered in three phases. Phase 1 is scheduled to commence preliminary construction in early 2022 pending completion of land, development, and environmental approvals. Representatives from Palm Branch Group Pty Ltd and Space Centre Australia Pty Ltd will be conducting community consultation in Weipa early August 2021.
The construction phase will create approximately 100-200 jobs in the region. When complete, Space Centre Australia is estimated to provide 300 full-time permanent roles. Investment in this project is supported through a consortium of financial sources.