3 mins read 10 Mar 2022

Proposed Bowen Orbital Spaceport given a traditional welcome

Juru Traditional Owners, North Queensland, performed a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony in support and recognition of the Whitsunday Regional Council approving early works for the Gilmour Orbital Spaceport in the Bowen region.

Juru Traditional Owners performed a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony to welcome and support the proposed Bowen Orbital Spaceport.

“With this ceremony, our people have welcomed Gilmour Space to build their spaceport on Juru country,” said Trevor Prior, Juru Elder and board director of the Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation.

This week, the Juru Traditional Owners came together with Gilmour Technology, Whitsunday Region Council members, The Federal Member for Dawson, Mr. George Christensen, and business supporters to perform a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony to support the upcoming development to build a rocket launch site just outside Bowen.  

The Smoking Ceremony follows the Whitsunday Regional Council announcing approval of early works for Gilmour Technology’s proposed launch site, the Bowen Orbital Spaceport. The Juru Traditional Owners in Bowen have already given their approval to the new development by signing a Cultural Heritage Management Agreement with Gilmour Technologies in December 2021.

“The construction of the Bowen Orbital Spaceport is exciting for Bowen and will provide an enormous economic and tourism injection for the region,” said Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor, Andrew Willcox.

“More than that, this is important for the nation. Having sovereign launch capability is a strategic need, and we want to see that develop through projects like this,” said George Christensen, Federal Member for Dawson.

The Whitsunday Regional Council issued Operational Works approval on 28 February for the Bowen Orbital Spaceport to be built on Abbot Point State Development Area, just outside Bowen in North Queensland.

Mayor Andrew Willcox said the approval will allow Gilmour Space Technologies to commence early works on Australia’s first orbital launch facility at the Abbott Point State Development Area.

“If progress remains on track, then Gilmour Space hopes to launch the first rocket from the proposed facility later this year."

"Bowen is located about 20 degrees south of the equator which geographically makes it the ideal location to actually launch rockets and send satellites into space," Mayor Willcox said.

Gilmour plans to launch two rockets per year from mid-2022 until 2025, after which they aim to increase launch frequencies to monthly.  

The site of the Bowen Orbital Spaceport is deemed as well-suited for small launches given its proximity to the coastline to avoid populated areas, combined with an Eastern launch direction allowing rockets to accelerate with the Earth’s rotation to leave the atmosphere.

Its location close to the equator also makes it ideal for sending payloads into geostationary orbit, a circular-like orbit 35,785-kilometres above the Earth’s Equator which would appear to us humans on Earth, as being stationary in the sky.