Gilmour Space secures extra $55m ahead of first launch

Brandon How

Queensland-based rocket maker Gilmour Space Technologies has raised an additional $55 million in capital to support ongoing development work as its first launch draws closer.

Gilmour plans to use the additional capital to expand its staffing from around 100 to more than 300 by mid-2027 and support manufacturing, testing, and launch activity.

The funding will also support the development of a space services platform at its Bowen Orbital Spaceport in North Queensland, including rocket and satellite production, and launch services.

Gilmour Space wants to launch its three-stage Eris orbital launch vehicle in late March or very early April. It is currently waiting on launch approvals from the Australian Space Agency.

The state-owned Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), which first invested in the firm in 2021, led the Series D funding round. Returning investors included venture capital funds Blackbird, CSIRO-founded Main Sequence and superannuation funds HostPlus and HESTA.

Following the latest funding round, the firm is reportedly valued at $605 million. The Series C round raised $61 million in June 2021, including an investment through QIC’s Business Investment Fund.

Gilmour Space Technologies co-founder and chief executive Adam Gilmour

Gilmour Space co-founder and chief executive Adam Gilmour said the additional capital would be pivotal to securing local and overseas opportunities and meeting its milestones over the medium term.

“Our team is fortunate to be backed by high-calibre investors whose unwavering support has led to the development of Australia’s first orbital rocket, built by an Australian-owned company, and supported by a local space supply chain,” Mr Gilmour said.

“This investment will allow us to enhance Australia’s sovereign space and defence capabilities, onshore more manufacturing, and to hire and upskill even more Queenslanders.

“Our vision is for rockets made and launched in Queensland, carrying satellites and other payloads to space for our global customers, and we’re incredibly grateful for the support of QIC in helping us realise that vision.”

QIC private equity investment director Patrick Christiansen said the full-stack launch services provided by Gilmour is targeting an underserviced segment of the global space market.

“Growing sovereign capabilities in Australian aerospace is often talked about, but it’s Adam and his team knuckling down and making it happen,” Mr Christiansen said.

“Never has an Australian-made, Australian-owned rocket launched into orbit, and we join the nation in eager anticipation as all eyes turn to Bowen for history to be written.”

Highlighting the firm’s achievements, Blackbird co-founding partner Rick Baker said the firm “had just produced a 10cm diameter hybrid rocket engine” when they first invested in Gilmour’s Series A round in 2017.

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