Gilmour is go: Queensland rocket builder’s launchpad approved for lift offs

- March 5, 2024 2 MIN READ
Adam and James Gilmour,
Gilmour Space cofounders Adam and James Gilmour, at the Bowen Orbital Spaceport.
Gold Coast rocket startup Gilmour Space has been granted approval to launch from its north Queensland facility.

Federal regulators gave the company the green light under new laws introduced in 2018 to help develop Australia’s fledging space technology sector.

Gilmour has developed its own hybrid rockets with a more environmentally friendly propellant and plans to send them into space with satellite payloads.

The spaceport at Abbot Point, near Bowen, has received the tick of approval from other government departments, and now awaits final launch approval from the Australian Space Agency.

The first test flight is expected within months.

Gilmour Space will offers commercial orbital launch services, including satellite platforms and “rideshare” launches to low earth orbit with its Eris rocket Australia’s first sovereign-designed and manufactured orbital launch vehicle.

Cofounder and CEO Adam Gilmour said the sign off from the feds gives Australia its own  “road’ to space”.

“The ability to launch our own satellites, on launch vehicles that we own and control, to key orbits in space from Australia, will be a significant capability for our global customers, as well as for our nation and allies,” he said.

 His brother James, the space tech startup’s cofounder and head of launch operations said the Bowen Orbital Spaceport will deliver a major economic boost to the region, including tourism.

“It’s been two years since we started the project, engaging with the Juru traditional owners and other stakeholders at the local, state and federal levels.,” he said.

“We’ve seen these efforts lead to diversified business opportunities, jobs, and investment in Bowen and greater Whitsunday region; and it will be exciting to see ‘rocket tourism’ emerging to support the local economy.”

The Bowen launchpad has been backed by the federal government which handed over $52 million Modern Manufacturing Initiative Collaboration grant for those launchpad in 2022. Last month the company scored an additional $808,500 in federal funding from the Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars Supply Chain Capability grants program  for a collaboration with UNSW to develop an Australian-made aerospace Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver that’s also suitable for civil, commercial and defence applications.

The company has been backed by the Queensland government and several VC firms including Main Sequence and Blackbird.

Last month Gilmour announced it had raised $52 million in a Series D ahead of its launch plans.