On 11 December 2019, the Australian Space Agency and Gilmour Space Technologies signed a Statement of Strategic Intent and Cooperation. The Statement outlines Gilmour’s investment plans, including the research and development of new rocket technologies.
Read the full statement below.
Joint Statement of Strategic Intent and Cooperation between Australian Space Agency and Gilmour Space Technologies
The Commonwealth of Australia as represented by the Australian Space Agency, part of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, hereinafter referred to as “the Agency” and represented by Mr Anthony Murfett, Deputy Head, Australian Space Agency, and Gilmour Space Technologies Pty Ltd, hereinafter referred to as “Gilmour Space" and represented by Adam Gilmour, Chief Executive Officer, Gilmour Space Technologies Pty Ltd;
Recalling that the Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028 is a framework for the development and growth of the Australian space industry over ten years, underpinned by four strategic pillars: International; National; Responsible; and Inspire. Under these pillars the strategy endeavours to help realise opportunities and address challenges by opening doors internationally; increasing national space capability; promoting responsible regulation, risk and space culture; and building the future workforce. The Strategy sets a path for the Agency to triple the size of Australia’s space sector to $12 billion and create another 20,000 jobs by 2030;
Recalling that the Agency's purpose is to transform and grow a globally respected Australian space industry that lifts the broader economy, inspires and improves the lives of Australians – underpinned by strong international and national engagement;
Recalling that the Agency has seven National Civil Space Priority Areas including communications technologies and services; position, navigation and timing infrastructure; space situational awareness and debris monitoring; leapfrog research and development; Earth observation services; robotics and automation on Earth and in space; and access to space;
Recalling that the Agency’s responsibilities include: whole-of-government coordination of Australia's civil space sector matters, providing primary civil space policy and strategic advice to the Australian Government, supporting the growth of our national space industry and the use of space across the broader economy, leading international civil space engagement, administering space activities legislation and delivering on our international obligations, and inspiring both the Australian community and the next generation of space entrepreneurs;
Recalling that the Agency’s values include being responsible, having shared ambition, trust and integrity, entrepreneurial spirit, inclusivity and passion. Its responsible value is linked closely to the Agency’s regulatory responsibilities for Australian space activities, which provides a regulatory framework that enables entrepreneurship while ensuring safety, managing risk, considering Australia’s interests and meeting our international obligations;
Recalling that Gilmour Space specialises in the development and provision of launch services, capable of providing industry and government with expertise in delivering space capability and capacity. Gilmour Space is an Australian ‘New Space’ company and has received significant venture capital;
Recalling that Gilmour Space has a strategic purpose to be the trusted provider of accessible, reliable and affordable launches dedicated to the global small satellite/payload market;
Recalling Gilmour Space’s specialist knowledge is in new hybrid rocket technologies, small satellite launch and in-space payload delivery. This includes innovative research and development, advanced engineering design, testing and manufacture, and expertise from launch to payload delivery. This enables Gilmour Space to provide valuable guidance, advice, and industry leadership in new rocket technologies, space-related manufacturing, operations, and launch;
Acknowledging that the Agency and Gilmour Space have shared values and the shared objectives of enhancing the capability, capacity and competitiveness of Australia’s space industry which would impact all National Civil Priority Areas; of attracting domestic and international investments that will support smart growth and highly qualified jobs in Australia; and improving day-to-day lives through innovative products and services;
Acknowledging that the Agency is an Australian government agency responsible for regulating civil space activities and is committed to open, transparent and significant industry engagement;
Acknowledging that Gilmour Space has a demonstrated history of innovative engineering and progress, of championing the growth of Australia’s ‘new’ space industry, of raising private investment and the profile of the Australian space industry domestically and internationally, and encouraging STEM and Space education and training. Gilmour Space will leverage its experience in delivering new launch vehicles and related capabilities to establish its own launch capability in Australia facilitated by investment into its ERIS orbital launch vehicles, to support the Australian Civil Space Strategy;
Through this Statement, Gilmour Space acknowledge the following current projects, areas of strategic interest and growth, and potential new areas of collaboration which are of interest to the nation.
- World-class research and development of new rocket technologies – Gilmour Space will continue to invest in and advance new hybrid rocket technologies that would provide more accessible, reliable and affordable launch access to the global commercial small satellite market. Their proprietary research, progressive milestones, and advanced testing of hybrid rocket technologies support the company’s ambition to be a future leader in the global small launch market.
- International investment & collaboration – Gilmour Space is one of the first private space companies in Australia to attract significant venture capital funding from national and international investors ($26 million to date), and to sign a Space Act Agreement with NASA. The company is currently working with universities, research partners, and suppliers in Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, and the US to deliver new small launch capabilities; and will be looking to grow this network of investors and partners as they progress in their manufacturing and launch activities.
Jobs, capacity and capability – The sustainable future of space in Australia relies on its ability to grow space/STEM skills and jobs for future generations. Gilmour Space is currently one of the largest dedicated space SMEs in Australia with 45 employees in its Gold Coast rocket facility, including 18 graduate engineers and 4 interns. The company plans to employ a further 10 staff by the end of 2020 in the fields of composite fibre test and manufacture, guidance navigation control, materials fabrication, and others.
Development of critical space infrastructure (engine test site) - Gilmour Space has an ongoing engine development and test program that will require a static engine test facility in south east Queensland, and is partnering with other organisations to bring this facility to market.
Critical space infrastructure (Australian launch sites) – In order to develop Australia’s launch capability, Gilmour Space will partner with launch facility providers. Gilmour Space will also continue to explore opportunities around an orbital launch site in Australia that would be able to support a wider range of orbits and inclinations sought by global commercial small satellite customers.
Advanced rocket manufacturing facility – To meet the predicted demand for space access, the future of Gilmour Space will include a new advanced manufacturing facility for launch vehicle production, assembly and integration. In the interim, the company will be announcing partnerships with advanced manufacturing companies in adjacent industries and will build on existing partnerships in Australia and globally.
Focus on safety and reliability – Gilmour Space understands their unique place in Australia’s space industry and is committed to the highest standards for risk and safety.
- Safety culture. Building a culture of safety is a priority for Gilmour Space. The company has a dedicated risk and compliance officer responsible for personal and workplace safety training and policies, and conducts facility compliance audits by external accredited safety organisations, making safe and secure operations of paramount importance to the company.
- Regulations. The company is committed to complying with all relevant legislations, codes of practice and Australian Standards for launch.
- Rocket design. Safety is a key differentiator and focus for Gilmour Space’s core rocket technology which was recently demonstrated to be safer to test and operate than other mainstream solid and liquid rocket technologies.
- Range safety. Gilmour Space employs an experienced range safety officer, has a team responsible for range and trajectory risk analysis, and will work closely with the launch site operator to manage launch risks.
Shared knowledge – As an Australian space pioneer and leader in the development of rocket technologies, Gilmour Space is committed to sharing its knowledge and experience to all stakeholders for launch-related matters. Growing the industry together will be beneficial to its long term success.
STEM and the future workplace – The success of Gilmour Space will include access to a high-quality pool of graduates and experts with relevant experience. Gilmour Space is collaborating with a number of universities in Australia to provide hands-on experience in projects that have commercial space applications, and will continue to tap into the growing pool of local interns and graduates for their development and commercialisation program.
This Statement constitutes the expression of both parties' intention to continue discussions that will move their shared objectives forward. This statement does not create legal obligations between the parties and does not establish the obligation to enter into a certain agreement.