3 mins read 09 Sep 2020

Gilmour Space Announces First Australian Customer

Gold Coast company Gilmour Space Technologies has announced Space Machines Company as their first Australian commercial launch customer.

Gilmour Space signing a contract with Space Machines Company. Credit: image supplied by Gilmour Space Technologies.

Rocket company Gilmour Space Technologies has announced their first Australian launch customer, Space Machines Company. This would be part of Gilmour Space’s maiden Eris rocket launch set for 2022, with Space Machines Company having contracted to launch a 35-kg payload to orbit - the largest announced to date by an Australian company. CEO of Gilmour Space, Adam Gilmour, explained the significance of this contract. 

“This could well be the first Australian payload to be launched to orbit on an Australian rocket, from an Australian launch site,” he said. 

Space Machines Company is a start-up based in Australia that is working on in-space transportation to insert small satellites into low-Earth orbits, geostationary Earth orbits, and cis-lunar orbits. 

"We are delighted to be supporting Gilmour’s first commercial flight and being part of this important milestone in the development of Australia's space industry,” said Space Machines Company co-founder and CEO, Rajat Kulshrestha. “At 35 kg, this will be one of the largest spacecraft developed and tested by an Australian space company,” he elaborated. 

Mr Gilmour commented, “Startups like Space Machines Company are gearing up to launch their innovative new products and services to market. But getting to space is still a big challenge for small-payload customers, particularly if they need access to specific orbits or inclinations. We’ve closed two commercial launch contracts in the last few months, and are targeting 12 rockets a year by 2025.” He added, "It's clear to us that the Australian space industry is ready for launch.”

Gilmour Space

A computer-generated model of the proposed Gilmour Space rocket ERIS. Credit: image supplied by Gilmour Space Technologies.

Gilmour Space is based in Queensland, and is a venture-funded rocket company. To tap into Australia’s rapidly growing space industry, and the \$\500 billion-a-year global space economy, Gilmour’s first Eris rockets will be launching payloads up to 305 kg into low earth orbits. This would either be 215 kg payloads into 500 kilometres sun synchronous orbits, or 305 kg payloads into 500 km equatorial orbits. They are aiming to begin the launch of small satellites into orbit from 2022 using an innovative hybrid rocket design. 

Earlier this year, Gilmour space successfully tested their design with a 45-second test fire, and then proceeded in less than a month later to more than double that record to 110-seconds in one of the longest hybrid rocket test fires in the world. Gilmour Space has also announced several partnerships this year, including with the University of Queensland and the Australian Department of Defence in order to develop new rocket technologies. With 2020 already proving to be a fruitful year for Gilmour Space, it remains to be seen what else is in store.