For a space company with big plans but no actual revenue and which hasn’t yet conducted a launch, Gilmour Space Technologies is in high demand.
Founder and chief executive officer Adam Gilmour said the South Australian government had been actively seeking him to relocate from the Queensland Gold Coast to South Australia.
“We are just a bit picky. We have hired a lot of people and they all live in the area. So it’s not really easy to move but it doesn’t mean we won’t in the future,” he told Space Connect.
“There is a lot of capability in Queensland. We have a good technology base around us so we would be happy to stay in Queensland, with a bit of state government support.”
He said they had so far received “almost zero” support from the federal and state governments.
“It is not like we haven’t applied for things. We just haven’t qualified or whatever. All of our funding has come from professional investors,” he said.
Right now the business is “burning money” which is very typical of the space industry.
“We are just spending money to develop tech,” he said.
“We will start generating revenue hopefully near the end of the year with some of our early launch contracts. The rocket industry is a bit weird. They book launches up to two and a bit years in advance and pay a deposit.
“There is an opportunity for us start getting revenue two years before we are set to launch.”
Gilmour Space Technologies plans to list on the Australian Securities Exchange not in the short term but within five years. The company is planning their next trial rocket launch from outback Queensland in May and their first commercial satellite launch in 2021 from a yet to be established facility, likely on the central Queensland coast.
Over the years there have been many proposals for an Australian commercial space launch capability but this will be the first.
Mr Gilmour, a former banker, said he had always been interested in space and technology.
“I did a lot of research on the space industry and what were the driving factors. I figured out a long time ago that launch was a bottleneck,” he said.
“I started researching why launch vehicles were so expensive and figured how to do it cheaper and have been executing that ever since.
“We don’t have plans for the very big rockets that SpaceX and Blue Origin are doing. We see limited demands for that kind of vehicle. We see the massive demand in small satellites.”
Mr Gilmour said high speed broadband delivered by satellite constellations in low earth orbit could rival or exceed the National Broadband Network.
“It’s basically just the next level of technology, It’s not that I hate the NBN or anything like that,” he said.
“As these satellites go into space with the latest technology, they are going to be able to give you speed up to 200 mpbs which is double to four times better than NBN. In the future they are talking about 1000 mpbs from space which will just totally blow away the NBN.”
He said this technology advance was akin to the transition from CDs to MP3 players.
“That is what is going on with broadband. A new technology is coming that is going to supersede the old technology,” he said.
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