Information Paper - Northern Territory Spaceport Feasibility Study
Cabinet considered the feasibility of establishing a space vehicle launching facility in the Northern Territory. As sites closer to the Equator are the most suitable for commercial space launches, top end sites near Darwin, Point Stuart and Nhulunbuy were considered, noting that Darwin has all the general infrastructure requirements of a port, airport and engineering facilities to support an adjacent launching facility.
The feasibility report considered key issues including launch infrastructure requirements, launch types and the key question of range safety. Risks were also considered, including launches that would traverse inhabited areas in the NT, and that expendable launch vehicles jettison large components such as tanks and fairings during their flight. These fall and impact the earth in ‘drop zones’, which generally occur over or near towns. Cabinet concluded that the spaceport would involve unacceptable risks and decided not to proceed with any further work at this time.
Read the Cabinet Decision - Submission No. 4518 and Decision No. 5266 of 8 September 1987