The Juru Traditional Owners at Bowen have signed a Cultural Heritage Management Agreement with Australian space and launch company, Gilmour Space Technologies. The agreement supports a proposed launch site within the Queensland government-owned Abbot Point State Development Area, which could see the first Australian-made rockets and satellites launching to orbit next year.

“The Juru traditional custodians of the Bowen area are very excited to be working with Gilmour Space Technologies,” said Peta Lynn Ross, chairperson of the Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation Board of Directors. “It’s incredible to think that we will, through this partnership, contribute to future space-based solutions that not only benefit our people, but Australia as a whole. Innovation is a must in order to enrich living conditions for all, and this Aussie partnership will be the first step in demonstrating how such advancements can positively impact society,” she said.

James Gilmour, head of Launch Operations at Gilmour Space added: “Cultural heritage has been, and will continue to be, an important element of the Bowen Orbital Spaceport. We’re looking forward to launching Australia to space from Juru land in Queensland, with support from the Juru people.”

Earlier this year, the Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Steven Miles, announced that the government was committed to supporting Gilmour Space in the development of this facility, which would “launch Queensland’s economic recovery into orbit.”

Since then, there has been increased focus on space and launch with Australia’s Department of Defence adding Space as one of its Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities; and the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources releasing their report, The Now Frontier: Developing Australia’s Space Industry, recommending the government to “consider a national launch plan or strategy to support a sovereign capability in Australia including the investment, infrastructure and expertise required”.

Gilmour Space is targeting a first launch from the Abbot Point site by mid 2022, and has a number of applications under review by the relevant authorities.

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