Green light for rocket launches in North Queensland

Rocket launch facility in Bowen, Queensland. | Newsreel
Gilmour Space has approval to launch rockets from it base in Bowen. | Photo: Supplied by Gilmour Space

A Gold Coast aerospace company is weeks away from launching rockets off the Queensland Coast.

Gilmour Space Technologies operates the Bowen Orbital Spaceport in North Queensland and offers commercial orbital launch services – including satellite platforms and dedicated/rideshare launches – to Low Earth Orbits.

It was licensed as Australia’s first orbital launch facility early last month and this week the site was officially opened, with its Eris TestFlight 1  targeted to launch in the coming weeks, pending approval of the launch permit by the Australian Space Agency.

Gilmour Space’s 23-metre, 35-tonne Eris rocket is capable of launching small satellites into low earth orbits and is now assembled on site in anticipation of its maiden launch.

When the licence was granted in March, Gilmour Space Co-founder and CEO Adam Gilmour said it was a vote of confidence in the company’s technical capability.

“Australia now has its own ‘road’ to space,” Mr Gilmour said.

“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.”

Fellow co-founder and Head of Launch Operations at Gilmour Space James Gilmour said: “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.

“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 company, founded by the two brothers, is also working with the University of New South Wales to co-develop an Australian aerospace grade Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver for use in various aerospace applications such as rockets, satellites, and aircraft.

That project will be funded the Australian Space Agency, under its Moon to Mars Supply Chain Capability Improvement Grants scheme.

Development of the GNSS receiver will use an Australian supply chain and qualify it for use across a wide range of position, navigation and timing applications for civil, commercial and defence customers.