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Gilmour launch on hold as wait continues for permit

Gilmour now believes the first launch of its Eris rocket is unlikely to take place before mid-July.

The business is still awaiting its launch permit from the Australian Space Agency but hopes to be granted a conditional permit “within the next two to three weeks”.

Gilmour has been developing its three-stage launch vehicle for eight years and hopes to address a gap in the global market for small satellite launch providers.

The first blast-off will be a significant moment for the local industry, as Eris is the first Australian-designed and manufactured orbital rocket.


Gilmour had been targeting a launch in April but can’t attempt a lift-off without approval from the Australian Space Agency.

When a permit is eventually granted, the company will then have to wait an extra 30 days while the Space Agency notifies domestic and foreign governments of the impending launch.

Speaking to InnovationAus, founder Adam Gilmour called the wait “extremely frustrating” but added the maiden flight was a “learning experience”.

“I really just want to get this launch done and then sit down with the agency – and they have agreed to do this already – and just do a walk-through to say, ‘What is the standard that should be required to approve a launch?’,” Gilmour said.


“This has been a learning process, so let’s make sure it’s streamlined from now on. And if we can get to that point, I am going [to] feel a lot better.”

The wait comes despite Gilmour lifting Eris into a vertical position for the first time last month and its Bowen Orbital Spaceport in North Queensland being granted its own separate licence to operate earlier this year.

Gilmour already employs more than 100 people and hopes to increase its headcount to more than 300 by mid-2027.

It’s also one of several businesses in Australia building spaceports for its own or clients’ rockets. Gilmour faces competition from ELA’s Arnhem Space Centre in the Northern Territory and Southern Launch’s Orbital Launch Complex in Southern Australia.

Adam Gilmour previously said the first launch is unlikely to fully achieve its mission objective of passing over the Coral Sea and entering low-Earth orbit.

“The first attempts at launches, they’ve always failed, so history is not on our side, and we do expect something will go wrong,” he told the ABC.

“Our technology is quite benign in terms of explosive potential, but there’s still a risk whenever you’ve got a lot of pressure in a tank. If it explodes, things fly out a long way.”

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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