Gold Coast company sets sights on moon

ASHLEIGH JANSEN

A Gold Coast based space technology company is hoping to benefit from the Morrison government’s $150 million dollar investment into Australia’s budding space industry, and hopes the investment will see man get back on the moon.

James Gilmour, Karen Andrews MP and Adam Gilmore

James Gilmour, federal science minister Karen Andrews and Adam Gilmore hope the space funding will help put man back on the moon. Photo: Courtesy Karen Andrews

 

The local company, Gilmour Space Technologies, is a venture capital-backed rocket company that develops and launches low-cost small satellite launch vehicles.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Federal Science Minister Karen Andrews announced the investment in a joint statement last week, saying it would be spread over the next five years.

The ASA and NASA have signed a joint agreement declaring their intent of shared collaboration into space.

The venture will allow for the Australian Space Agency (ASA) to support research and jobs, and partner with local businesses to later join NASA missions, such as Lunar Gateway and Project Artemis, the latter of which aims to develop an ongoing presence on the moon’s surface.

Gilmour Space Technologies CEO Adam Gilmour said the company was “over the moon” at the prospect of working with NASA.

“We’re super excited to work with NASA, we already have a Space Act agreement with them that covers a whole range of technologies that we can work together on,” Mr Gilmour said.

Working in conjunction with the Australian Space Agency, Gilmour Space have set their sights on getting man back to the moon alongside NASA.

“It’s early days for us yet, we’re going to work hard with NASA and with the Australian Space Agency and figure out exactly how we can do it,” he said.

Mr Gilmour said the money would go a long way with Space 2.0 focused on building better technology at a lower cost.

“That’s all about what the new space industry is about – doing things fantastic, for cheap,” Mr Gilmour said.

Ms Andrews said the developmental aspect of the investment was to build on technologies currently in place such as automation and robotics, as well as remote asset management.

Mr Gilmour said it was hard to compete with foreign industry and development, but said he was hopeful this piece of government support was a sign of things to come.

Federal science minister Karen Andrews with Adam Gilmore and the team at Gilmore Space technologies

Federal science minister Karen Andrews with Adam Gilmore and the team at Gilmore Space Technologies on the Gold Coast. Photo: Courtesy Karen Andrews

 

He said he had been vocal in saying government investment was required to take Australia’s space industry to the next level.

“I have publically been very vocal saying we need at least $100 million,” Mr Gilmour said.

“$150 million is even better and this will definitely move the needle,” he said.

“We hope to get a decent amount from the fund, at least $10 million,” Mr Gilmour said.

“If we get funding, we will increase headcount in engineering, technicians, construction, sales and marketing, finance, product control [and] purchasing so [it’s] very wide reaching,” he said.

Mr Gilmour said the Gold Coast was a good place for a space technology company to be located.

“Why wouldn’t we be on the Gold Coast?” he said.

“We have all the technology we need around here, the industry is great, the universities are fantastic,” he said.

“We hire people from all around the universities in Queensland, so we get a lot of help from them and we love being here.”

In the statement last week, Federal Science Minister Karen Andrews said the venture was good news for Australia.

“This is going to be a great opportunity for Australia, Australian businesses and the people of Australia to take that next venture into space,” Ms Andrews said.

The minister said the money from the investment will not be going into the pockets of NASA, but rather is going back into Australian businesses in what will be a massive tipping point for Australia’s space game.

“It is targeted money, it is very focused on Australian businesses, this will not be money that is injected into NASA, this is money that will be used to grow Australian businesses,” Ms Andrews said.

As an emerging industry sector, the Australian space industry is currently worth $4 billion, with a committed trajectory of $12 billion by 2030.

Furthermore, the minister projected that the investment would benefit employment.

“We’re committed to growing jobs in the space sector,” Ms Andrews said.

“It is an emerging industry here in Australia, and when you think the Australian space industry was only established 14 or 15 months ago, we’re now at the point where we’re going to be part of the next mission to the moon and mars,” she said.

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