August 22, 1990

Article at Reuters

U.S. decision boosts prospects for Australian spaceport

Dr Bruce Middleton of the Australian Space Office (right) meets with U.S. Vice-President Dan Quayle

By Wilson da Silva

SYDNEY – The White House has conditionally approved U.S. participation in Australian plans for the world’s first private spaceport, the government said on Wednesday.

Dr Bruce Middleton of the Australian Space Office in Canberra told Reuters a White House statement said the United States would allow United Technologies Corp of Connecticut to take part in the project.

 “This very significantly boosts the chances for the project,” Middleton said.

“(The approval) will place on the ground a team from United Technologies who will provide some of the

technical expertise the venture needs.”

The Brisbane-based Cape York Space Agency plans to build the A$760 million (US$623 million) spaceport and hopes to use Soviet rockets to put satellites in orbit by 1995.

United Technologies had to seek U.S. government approval under laws restricting high-technology deals involving the Soviet Union.

The U.S. approval is conditional on the Soviet Union limiting launch activities to the Cape York base in Australia’s northern state of Queensland or another site outside the Soviet Union, the statement said.

The venture must also adhere to U.S. laws restricting technology transfers to communist states, it said.

The Cape York Space Agency has an exclusive agreement with the Soviet Glavkosmos group to use advanced Zenit rockets to launch satellites from a marshland site on the northeast coast of Queensland.

The agency expects to capture about 20 per cent of the world satellite launch market by the end of the century.