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Gilmour leads a push for bigger Queensland space industry

Business

Thirty Australian companies and institutions have banded together in a $150 million bid to create a local space industry with support from a Federal Government scheme.

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Led by Gold Coast based Gilmour Space Technologies, the group of 30, called the Australian Space Manufacturing Network, has a vision of more than just rockets in space.

“Satellites with sensors and cameras that detect bushfires within minutes, provide real-time crop data to farmers, connect our remote towns and communities; and rockets that provide valuable access to space from Australia … these are just some of the ‘real world’ capabilities possible with space technology today,’’ Gilmour Space said in its announcement.  

The group includes Queensland’s major universities as well as robotics and technology companies. It also has the support from Boeing and Airbus.

Its aim is to establish the foundations of a  space technology industry with three space facilities in Queensland. 

That would include:

A common test and manufacturing facility, enabling members to advance their space research and technology development at lower cost; 

An advanced manufacturing facility for building commercial rockets and satellites, anchored by Gilmour Space; 

And an orbital spaceport at Abbot Point near Bowen in North Queensland, that will help bring many of these products to space.

Some of the 30 would provide equity into the projects.

The Abbot Point spaceport has already been given a green light by the State Government.

Gilmour chief executive Adam Gilmour said the space industry was still very new relative to other industry pillars and it lacked the funding and basic infrastructure.

“With participation from six states and territories in Australia, we see this as a genuinely industry-led project that will provide the framework and infrastructure needed to unlock collaborations, create jobs and capability, attract private investment, and advance Australian space technologies from initial concept through to commercialisation and launch,” Gilmour said.

“With the global space economy expected to grow to $1 trillion dollars by 2030, the MMIC will provide timely support for our emerging space manufacturers to develop and mature significant, and globally competitive, space capabilities in Australia.

The Government support would come through the Modern Manufacturing Initiative which provides funding up to $200 million for projects in six key areas, including space.

Glen Tindall, who heads EOS Communications said Australian space manufacturing facilities would unlock the nation’s true potential as a respected space faring nation.

“The Australian Space Manufacturing Network and the diverse range of partners it brings together, demonstrates the end-to-end benefit these types of facilities will have across Australia and beyond,” he said.

Among the ASMN founding members are Swinburne University of Technology in Victoria; Space Machines Company and Neumann Space in South Australia; Electro Optic Systems and Greatcell Energy in the ACT; Spiral Blue in New South Wales; the ARM Hub and Griffith University in Queensland; and a number of international space companies, including Poland’s SatRevolution from Poland.

A decision on the funding is expected before the end of the year.

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