Aussie man has rocket factory in Changi, thinks S’pore can be region’s leader in space race

Reaching for the stars is part of the job description.

By Sulaiman Daud | October 29, 2017

Singapore is home to a number of multinational companies, but the most exciting of them all might just be Gilmour Space Technologies (GST).

GST has its headquarters in Queensland, Australia, but it also has a subsidiary in Singapore.

Its founder Adam Gilmour worked as a foreign exchange trader for Citibank and became a managing director based in Singapore. Working with SMEs inspired him to take the plunge into the world of business. Speaking to Forbes, he said:

“Being part of their journey over the years inspired me to take a chance and break out on my own.”

Gilmour’s interest in space exploration was sparked by a childhood visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, U.S.. This was his chance to realise a childhood dream.

Great opportunities for the future

American entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Space X company had already made significant breakthroughs with his replaceable rocket technology, lowering the cost of launching satellites into orbit.

As Gilmour saw it, space exploration was an industry with high potential.

In 2012, he set up GST, financing the company mostly by himself. By June 2017, his Series A venture capital funding round was concluded successfully, giving the company a valuation of over S$15 million.

Gilmour’s current plan is to work on low-cost satellite launch vehicles that can take satellites into orbit, fuelled by growing demand from both government agencies and commercial enterprises.

However, he is also looking ahead towards a propulsion system that could deliver a payload to the Moon or Mars — anticipating a time when there would be human bases set up in both otherworldly locations.

Pic from the Mass Effect wikia.

Why Singapore?

As it turns out, Gilmour thinks that Singapore is the ideal location for a rocket factory.

Our geographical location helps, as we are situated very near the Equator, which makes rocket launches easier. It’s the same reason why the Kennedy Space Center was built in Florida, because it’s as close as America can get to the Equator.

According to Gilmour, the site near Changi Airport is the perfect location for his rocket factory.

“The fact Singapore is on the equator – an ideal latitude to launch rockets from – is an advantage. There is also enough space here to build rockets.”

Paradoxical though it may seem, Gilmour also finds that Singapore has enough space to suit the needs of his rocket factory.

“There are factories here that are as large as SpaceX’s rocket factory in the United States and most small satellites don’t even need large factories to build them, a standard 2000-3000 square foot factory space would do.”

Singapore also benefits from a highly-educated workforce, with dedicated aerospace engineering schools and satellite research centres in both NUS and NTU.

Gilmour might be the first of a new wave of investors — provided Singapore realises its own potential in an industry capable of reaching for the stars.

 

Top image from Gilmour Space Technologies.

About Sulaiman Daud

Sulaiman of House Daud believes we stand today on the edge of a new frontier and that every Pam will find her Jim. His favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi's Twelve. In his spare time he writes about pop culture (mostly Batman related), which you are very welcome to read here.

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