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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Bon Voyage Gilmour Rocket

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By Bruce Hedditch chairman Bowen Chamber of Commerce

WITHIN the next three weeks, the Gilmour Space Group will launch its first Eris rocket from its Bowen Orbital Spaceport, at Abbot Point.

The 23-metre Eris rocket – weighing 30,000kg and costing more than $100m – is now in a vertical position awaiting launch in early May.

And while it will be the first launch by Gilmour Space, it will be a significant step forward for the company, Bowen and North Queensland.

Gilmour Space was founded in 2013 by two brothers, Adam and James Gilmour, who through their vision and initiative have taken their concept from a factory at the Gold Coast to the specifically constructed launch pad, at Abbot Point, adjacent to Bowen.

Since the 1950s, Australia was used by the United Kingdom to conduct its own tests on its rocket program but we are now witnessing two Australian men, their Australian company and the company staff taking their technology to the world.

The question arises, why has Bowen been chosen as the launch site and, from industry experts, by having a launch facility close to the equator, it means significant benefit, as the need for additional fuel is eliminated because of the earth’s rotation.

A significant benefit for the Bowen site is the sparse population and having the ocean to the east and unoccupied land is important.

It is expected the unpiloted rocket will pass over the Coral Sea after launch before entering low orbit, a trip of eight minutes.

The potential for low orbit satellites is enormous – providing information on coral bleaching and improving crop yields are just two areas alone.

The worldwide annual market for low orbit satellites is assessed at plus $40bn, which means Gilmour Space is entering an exciting opportunity for the company, and Australia in providing a safe and reliable avenue for satellite launches.

I appreciate that statistics indicate the difficulty of a successful first launch, but Bowen conveys to Gilmour Space and its Eris Rocket ‘Bon Voyage’.

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