3 mins read 26 Jun 2020

Gilmour Space Achieves Hybrid Rocket Milestone

Gold Coast company Gilmour Space has completed a successful 45 second test of the hybrid rocket engine in an Australian first. 

Gilmour Space is flying high with their new achievement. In an Australian first, the Gold Coast company has completed a successful 45 second “hot-fire” of their upper-stage hybrid rocket engine. This test is the first in a series of major demonstrations this year on their path to achieving the launch of small satellites into space by 2022. 

Gilmour Space CEO and co-founder, Adam Gilmour, has commented on the success of the test. “This was our longest and most efficient test fire to date... It’s a key demonstration of our ability to produce repeatable, stable, and high-performance combustion over a long duration burn; and a significant achievement in hybrid rocket development,” he said. “This engine will have the capability to power the upper stage of our Eris orbital launch vehicle, and deliver our customer payloads to their required orbits,” he explained. “Our next test will be a full duration mission duty cycle firing of this engine.”

Developing New Technologies

Gilmour Space is developing new cost-effective, safe, and green hybrid propulsion technologies for their rockets. Most commercial rockets, on the other hand, use solid or liquid propulsion engines. Gilmour Space is developing Eris Launch Vehicles, which will deliver up to 305 kg payloads into low Earth orbit. This recent successful test from Gilmour Space proves that this company is on their way to revolutionising the space industry. 

Mr. Gilmour stated that the company experienced some setbacks this year due to the earlier bushfires and the current COVID-19 pandemic. “We’ve had to delay some of our development efforts and transition half our team to remote work at one stage.”

Despite being impacted by these events, a number of significant tests are set to be run by Gilmour Space this year in preparation for their 2022 launch. These tests include a series of low-altitude flight tests of their guidance, navigation and control systems, a thrust vector control system test, and a more powerful static fire of their first stage rocket. Mr. Gilmour said, “With each test, we get closer to 2022 our goal of launching Australia and our customers to space.”

Building on Previous Successes

Gilmour Space has made a name for itself over the past few years. In May this year, the Queensland company signed a collaboration agreement with Australia’s Defence Science Technology Group to develop defence-related space technologies, including propulsion, materials, and avionics technologies. They also signed a Strategic Statement of Intent with the Australian Space Agency in December last year to show commitment to delivering ‘Access to Space’ as a civil priority area. They have also entered into collaborations with Titomic, the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), and the University of Queensland (UQ). 

Mr. Gilmour is confident that with collaborations such as these, and the success demonstrated by their most recent test, that this company is well on its way to achieving its goals. “Clearly, the momentum for launch is building here. With the right focus, investment, and hopefully a ready launch site by 2022, we believe that space could be a significant future industry for Australia – one that builds on our advanced manufacturing capabilities, and offers real opportunities for jobs, recovery and growth.” 

With this successful 45 second test under their belt in an Australian first, Gilmour Space seems to be rocketing ahead with no signs of slowing down any time soon.