3 mins read 30 Sep 2022

Gilmour Space announces first rideshare mission for late 2024

Gilmour Space is set to launch its first rideshare mission, Caravan-1, from its spaceport in Queensland in just two years’ time.

Gilmour's Eris Block 2 launch vehicle will launch its first dedicated rideshare mission in late 2024. Credit: Gilmour Space Technologies.

At this year’s International Astronautical Congress in Paris, Gilmour Space Technologies announced new plans to launch a dedicated rideshare mission to low-Earth orbit (LEO) in late 2024.

Aptly named Caravan-1, the mission will be carried aboard Gilmour’s upgraded Eris Block 2 rocket, which will take the payloads to LEO from its Bowen Orbital Spaceport (BOS) in Abbott Point Port in northern Queensland. With a lift capacity of 1000 kilograms, the upgraded rocket boasts a significant increase in launch capability for customers compared to the original Eris Block 1 rocket which can carry up to 215 kilograms and will make its maiden launch early next year.

Customers of the mission can use the standard 15-inch adaptor port to attach their payloads. They also have the option of utilising Gilmour Space’s modular satellite platform, called the G-Class Satellite Bus (G-Sat), for individual payloads. The G-Sat is a large CubeSat measuring 60cm, which is designed to fit into both Eris and other commercial launch vehicles. Its purpose is to provide the same scalability as a 1U CubeSat (10cm) while also allowing for larger payloads with more capabilities such as power and instrumentation. As a result, it gives scientists, engineers and satellite manufacturers more room to move and greater scope to deliver higher quality results for end-users.

Artist rendition of the Eris rocket on the launchpad at Gilmour's Bowen Orbital Spaceport. Credit: Gilmour Space Technologies.

The appeal of rideshare services

Rideshares have become popular in the commercial space world lately, as it allows one rocket to carry multiple small payloads in the same way that an Uber can carry multiple passengers to different destinations. Compared to launching one payload per rocket, ridesharing is an efficient way of taking satellites to orbit with many advantages: it is more environmentally responsible, it saves time waiting for rockets to be available, and it is more cost effective for the launch provider and the manufacturer.

These factors are even more important when a satellite company is still establishing itself. “Access to space (specifically, launch cost and availability) is a major challenge for these companies as they develop, test, iterate, and rapidly deploy their technologies in space,” a Gilmour Space spokesperson said.

Adam Gilmour, CEO, representing Gilmour Space at the recent Australian Investment Conference 2022. Credit: Gilmour Space Technologies.

In announcing Caravan-1, Gilmour is continuing its success in partnering with private space companies to help launch customers’ products to space. In August this year, the Gold Coast-based company signed an agreement with UK company Commercial Space Technologies Ltd (CST) to provide rideshare missions globally. It is also collaborating with German rideshare service provider Exolaunch.

“The next few years are going to be a very exciting time for the global space industry, and missions like this will allow us to support the growth of new satellite and in-orbit technologies that could benefit humanity on Earth, in space, and beyond,” said Adam Gilmour, CEO and co-founder.

Gilmour Space is an Australian pioneer in rocket and payload technology. By hosting missions like Caravan-1, the venture-backed company is giving our industry the boost it needs for a greater presence and success on the world space stage.