Gilmour Space Technologies is Against Australian High Rocket Launch Permit Fees

3rd Apr 2021
Gilmour Space Technologies

Australian aerospace companies, including Gilmour Space Technologies, Equatorial Launch Australia, and Southern Launch, are concerned about the government’s initiative to introduce high launch permit fees. According to the industry leaders, these fees are disproportionate and threaten the budding Australian space industry. The government, faced with criticism and opposition, has started a new round of consultations for this plan.

Gilmour Space Technologies on High Rocket Launch Fees

The cost-recovery model introduced by the Federal Government implies high fees on rocket launch and return. According to Gilmour Space Technologies and other Australian based companies, these fees take the competitive edge from local launch providers. Based on some estimates, a launch permit may cost around $40,000. In contrast to that, hiring a launch expert is estimated at roughly $150,000. So, the total cost of a single launch for the end client may reach $190,000. 

Technically, Australian launch providers can cover local government fees themselves, billing the end client the costs of their launching services alone. However, according to Gilmour Space Technologies, this would cripple the emerging Australian launch industry. 

Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp emphasises the fact that the US has no rocket launch fees at all, while New Zealand charges a fixed tax of $60 for every launch. The Australian federal government’s latest cost-recovery model imposes uncompetitive costs on its own providers, threatening the development of the local aerospace industry. He adds that these fees could become a disincentive for Australian space companies and suggests canceling the initiative for good. 

Three Australian aerospace leaders – Gilmour Space Technologies, Equatorial Launch Australia, and Southern Launch – have written to the Parliamentary inquiry into the space industry. Their petition emphasised the importance of the growing Australian space sector and highlighted new job opportunities this industry could create. 

The companies believe that Australia is ready to take its place among reliable launch providers worldwide. However, the emerging industry needs support from the government, and the latest cost-recovery scheme is the opposite of support. 

As a reminder, the scheme was supposed to kick into action on 1st July 2020. However, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the authorities shifted the scheme’s implementation to 1st July 2021. Right now, new rounds of discussions are in place with the Australian Space Agency. The latter will look into payment timeframes and figures. So, Gilmour Space Technologies and the two other Australian space giants on the list may still hope for good news. 

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