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News & Analysis

A GIANT LEAP: Australian rocket startup Gilmour Space fires up with $61 million series C

- June 30, 2021 2 MIN READ
Gilmour Space co-founders Adam and James Gilmour.

 

  • The $61m series C included local VCs Blackbird & Main Sequence
  • Gilmour Space plans to launch its first space mission from Australian soil in 2022
  • Its hybrid rocket offers an environmentally friendly, lower cost launch capability
Gold Coast-based rocket design company Gilmour Space has landed a whopping $61 million (US$47m) series C round as it prepares for its first launch next year.

The round was led by US VC Fine Structure Ventures, which is backed by Fidelity Investments, as well as existing investors Blackbird and CSIRO fund Main Sequence, plus super funds HESTA, Hostplus, and NGS Super

The eight-year-old space company has now raised $87 million in total.

Gilmour Space CEO and co-founder Adam Gilmour has been developing a hybrid rocket and collaborating with several local spacetech companies to develop a lower cost Australian-based launch capability for satellites and other cargo.

“This new investment will give us runway to launch our first orbital rocket in 2022,” he said.

“It will help us develop multiple Eris vehicles, grow our team from 70 to 120 in the next 12 months, build our sovereign space manufacturing capability for rockets and satellites, and facilitate a commercial spaceport in Queensland, where we hope to launch the world’s first hybrid rocket to space,” he added.

Gilmour and his co-founder brother, Adam launched their first hybrid rocket in mid-2016 and have subsequently become a world leader in orbital-class hybrid propulsion technologies using safer and lower cost fuels compared to traditional chemical propulsion rockets.

 

Global ambitions

Their ambition is to make Australia a global and environmentally friendly epicentre for low cost rocket launches.

“My brother James and I started the rocket program in 2015 with the goal of one day sending humans to space. We always knew it would be a difficult journey, but it makes me proud to think that our ambition and progress have contributed to the tremendous growth of Australia’s new space industry,” Adam Gilmour said.

“Today, we are growing an amazing team committed to providing affordable and reliable satellites and rocket launches to our global customers.”

The Queensland rocket facility now has a network of 300 partners and suppliers, and launch contracts with Australian and international customers including US-based Momentus, Sydney-based Space Machines Company, and South Australia’s Fleet Space Technologies.

Local VC Blackbird Ventures backed the spacetech startup in a $5 million Series A in 2017. Partner Rick Baker said: “It’s been amazing to see what Gilmour Space has achieved so far in proving that they can build a reliable hybrid rocket engine capable of powering the next generation of launch vehicles.”

It’s the first Australian investment for Fine Structure Ventures, and managing partner Brett Rome said: “The team at Gilmour is building the leading sovereign launch company in Australia, and utilising their innovative hybrid rocket engine to efficiently address the growing global demand for putting satellites into orbit.”

Hostplus CEO David Elia said said backing Gilmour was a unique investment for the super fund.

“We anticipate Gilmour’s valuation increasing, and we are delighted to support the exciting future ahead for Australia’s space industry,” he said