Australia Gets Its First Licenced Orbital Spaceport

Australia Gets Its First Licenced Orbital Spaceport

Gold Coast space tech start-up Gilmour Space has been given lift off to develop Australia’s first Orbital Spaceport.

Under the FederalSpace (Launches & Returns) Act 2018, companies need to get a licence before establishing orbital launch sites within the country. The licence was issued by Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic, and approval for the site has been given by the Queensland Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

Historically, Australia has launched rockets on our mainland before, but Gilmour’s Bowen Orbital Spaceport is the first site to be licenced under the act. As pointed out by Innovation Aus, Arnhem Space Centre completed the first commercial sub-orbital space launch back in 2022, so when this spaceport is up and running, it won’t be the first site to have conducted commercial services to space in Australia.

The Bowen Orbital Spaceport was built with the support of the Australian government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy along with the Queensland Government, and company funding rounds. Noted by the Australian Space Agency, Gilmour Space is also engaging with the traditional owners of the land, the Juru people.

“Australia now has its own ‘road’ to space,” Gilmour Space Co-founder and CEO Adam 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.”

Gilmour Space is preparing for its first orbital launch at the Bowen Orbital Spaceport this year – however, the spaceport licence won’t be enough to cut it. To launch the company’s ‘Eris TestFlight 1’ mission, it needs launch approval from the Australian Space Agency. This test flight will include a hybrid propulsion system for stages one and two and a liquid propulsion system for stage three.

The Bowen Orbital Spaceport is intended to offer launches to other companies into low-Earth orbits.

Image: Gilmour Space

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