A series of moves from Australia have been seen to increase the number of commercial space launches. Making an addition to these moves, a Gold Coast firm Gilmour Space Technologies is all set to launch in May a rocket 40 km into the stratosphere from a remote location out of Mount Isa. This launch culminates the research and development of three years.
The company was conceived three years back by a Singapore-based banker Adam Gilmour, whose dream materialized with the support of venture capital. One Vision, the nine meter sub-orbital test rocket and its mobile launch tower has been designed and built with approximately $6 million of spending by Gilmour Space Technologies.
Adam Gilmour said that “The plan is, we’re going after the small satellite market. There’s about to be thousands of small satellites launched into orbit. It’s begun already and it’s going to accelerate. Once we start manufacturing rockets to do production runs, we’re going to need 200-300 employees for the initial batch. It could go up, if we’re successful, to more than 1,000 employees, so it’ll be a very big factory.”
These satellites will be furnishing the rising demand for space-based broadband, GPS, ground tracking, wireless connectivity for IoT.
While the buzz of BlackSky Aerospace in southern Queensland carrying out Australia’s first commercial payload delivery last November, is still alive; this anticipated launch is also creating rounds.
Australia seems to be amassing fame for being a regional rocket hub with the mushrooming of space business, also Queensland contending with South Australia and the Northern Territory.
BlackSky director Blake Nikolic also confirmed about his firm’s coordination with the U.S government in the development of propulsions fuels and rockets and said that there were “ a series of launches” planned for later this year. “Realistically within the next five years we’re probably looking at 40 to 60 launches a year,” said he.
Gilmour and BlackSky have lately been working with the Queensland government in development of blueprints for the space business.
The mini-satellite makers in the U.S, Japan, Australia, Philippines, Sweden and Norway have their eyes set on Gilmour Space Technologies. Mr. Gilmour said, “What we see is there’s not enough rockets to take those small satellites into orbit and there’s a big bottleneck. So we’re addressing the bottleneck, and our other secondary mission, which is critical, is to do it for very cheap cost. We have very simple rockets that we can build for very low cost and we think that’s going to differentiate us. We don’t have to beat everybody in the world, we actually think there needs to be around 10 rocket companies of a similar size to us operating around the world to satisfy the demand.”
“The Palaszczuk Government is determined to develop a strong, viable, nation-leading space industry and we have been in discussion with several proponents, including Gilmour Space Technologies, to grow the industry,” said State Development Minister Cameron Dick while emphasizing on the government’s interest to work in coordination with the Australian Space Agency (ASA) to develop the industry.
ASA Deputy Head, Anthony Murfett, was quoted as stating that the agency was already worth about $3.9 billion a year and the intent was to triple that but the agency is stopping short of offering financial incentives or subsidies to help get those rockets off the ground as the prime focus is to regulate and ensure safe operations as he was quoted to say, “We’ll focus at this stage on the regulatory activities ensuring safe operations of launch activities in Australia.”