Fifty two and a half years ago, a certain television show was broadcast for the first time in the United States of America. Along with its catchy theme music, the show would also have its fictional starship captain utter words that have become part of the human language.
“Space, the final frontier…” and the program, Star Trek, have gone on to spawn numerous sequel shows and movies. But it goes further than video and celluloid. Star Trek inspired many to become astronauts, astrophysicists, scientist, astronomers, and more. It crossed boundaries of countries and politics, and has people of every continent stop and stare at the night sky.
And so it was with Australian born John Moody. Like many, John looked at the sky at a young age and told himself he would become an astronaut. Like many in a small town, those dreams were harder than initially thought, with the bright lights of a big city just that too far away. However, another calling beckoned and John became involved in the music industry.
1997, and the electronica & rock music scene has a number 1 hit from John Moody. It’s a punk like rebellious title, “Won’t Change”. What did change was the space industry around the world, with countries such as India, China, and Pakistan starting to make noises about launching their own rockers into the ether. The shuttle program was in full flight and the Australian Space Research Institute was visiting Woomera twice a year.
Flash forward to 2014 and tragedy strikes. John lost both parents that year and found himself questioning what he could do. The sky beckoned again in 2015 so John packed up and went to the U.S. to discuss getting Australia into the space industry.The Australian government has been notoriously fickle when it comes to supporting a space industry, yet John has been successful to a point in garnering support. The Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science looks after the Space Activities Act 1998 and in order to have an industry, naturally a license must be issued.
An extra piece of motivation for John to have a space industry up and running has been the success of our pals across the ditch. New Zealand has a small albeit thriving rocketry family called Rocket Lab. It’s a subsidiary of a well established U.S. firm and John firmly believes that Australia should have the same success.
As with all proposals for a space base, location is key. To that end, John has worked with indigenous locals and agencies around Rockhamption in Queensland. And as with all non-government backed proposals that make sense, the dollar sign reigns. John sighs as he reflects upon the fact that he was able to fund some of the proposals put forward so far thanks to an inheritance from his late father.
Rocket size also plays a part in the proposal. With small rockets, perhaps up to ten metres in height, the Moody proposal would start with the small satellites and with cube-sats gaining momentum as a “delivery to space” method, his ideas are becoming more and more realistic.
Moody sees the development proposal coming full circle; he was a child when his dream to reach space was first born, and he sees children as a crucial part of the longer term plan for a space industry in Australia. A STEM, or Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics program is one arm of his roadmap and needs the foresight of the government to implement it.
In respect to a timeframe, John says that it’s more the likelihood of a spaceport proposal being accepted and implemented that’s more important, and feels that the current progress sees a 90% probability of it going ahead. Should like-minded people wish to assist, John is always welcoming of contact via Moody Space Centre.
Space may be the final frontier, however for John Moody, that frontier draws ever closer.