A corner of the Abbot Point State Development Area is one step closer to launching rockets to space, with the Whitsunday Regional Council approving early works for Gilmour Space Technologies’ proposed Bowen Orbital Spaceport.
“This approval means that we can begin early construction works on the launch site ahead of our first Eris rocket launch later this year,” explained James Gilmour, head of launch operations at Gilmour Space, a Gold Coast-based company that is building and launching Australian made rockets and satellites to orbit.
The company is seeking further approvals to complete the project, and he added: “We are grateful to the Juru traditional owners for their Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony to mark this occasion, ushering in a new space beginning for Queensland and Australia."
“With this ceremony, our people have welcomed Gilmour Space to build their spaceport on Juru country,” said Trevor Prior, Juru Elder and board director of the Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation, which last year signed a Cultural Heritage Management Agreement with Gilmour Space.
Attended by business leaders as well as representatives from federal, state and local governments, the event capped a positive week for the national space industry, which saw the federal government announce a $65 million boost for the industry, and the scrapping of launch application fees for Australian companies.
“The construction of the Bowen Orbital Spaceport is exciting for Bowen and will provide an enormous economic and tourism injection for the region,” said Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor, Andrew Willcox in a statement.
“More than that, this is important for the nation. Having sovereign launch capability is a strategic need, and we want to see that develop through projects like this,” said George Christensen, Federal Member for Dawson.
“It’s an exciting time that we’re in, and for the nation of Australia. We and the Bowen community look forward to seeing the first Australian rockets being launched to space from our country," said Mr Prior.