Gilmour Space Technologies
Company typePrivate
Founded2013; 11 years ago (2013)
FoundersAdam Gilmour, James Gilmour
Headquarters,
Australia
ServicesOrbital launch vehicle, spaceport, satellite bus
Number of employees
200
Websitewww.gspace.com

Gilmour Space Technologies is a venture-funded Australian aerospace company that is developing hybrid-propellant rocket engines and associated technologies to support the deployment of a low-cost launch vehicle.[1]

Founded in 2012, Gilmour Space's function is to provide space launch services to the small satellite market – offering a range of Australian-built Eris orbital rockets, launched from Gilmour's private spaceport in north Queensland; and a modular G-Sat small satellite bus/platform.[2]

The maiden flight of its Eris rocket, which was unveiled by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese as Australia's first sovereign-made orbital rocket,[3] is planned for no earlier than 2024 from the Bowen Orbital Spaceport in Abbot Point, Bowen.[4]

Gilmour Space has near-term plans to develop a range of Eris launch vehicles capable of carrying larger satellites/payloads into Low Earth Orbits, and eventually provide space access for human spaceflight and exploration.[5]

Founding

Gilmour Space was founded in Singapore (2012; closed 2019) and Australia (2013) by former banker, Adam Gilmour, and his brother James Gilmour.

The company's first project in 2013 was to design and manufacture high-fidelity spaceflight simulators and replicas for a number of space-related exhibits and the Spaceflight Academy Gold Coast.[6][7] It began its rocket development program in 2015; and within 18 months, successfully launched Australia and Singapore's first privately developed hybrid test rocket using proprietary 3D printed fuel.[8]

Since then, the company has been developing larger rockets, including the One Vision suborbital rocket and Eris orbital launch vehicle (more below).

Investors

As a leading New Space pioneer in Australia, Gilmour Space is backed by some of the country's largest investors, including Blackbird Ventures (which led its Series A fund raise[9]) and Main Sequence Ventures (which led its Series B raise[10]); as well as international investors like Fine Structure Ventures (Series C[11]) and 500 Startups. Other investors include Queensland Investment Corporation and Australian superannuation funds Hostplus, HESTA and NGS Super.

Launch vehicles

RASTA test rocket

RASTA (Reusable Ascent SeparaTion Article) was a sub-orbital sounding rocket launched by Gilmour Space on 22 July 2016,[12] propelled by a proprietary hybrid rocket engine. It performed nominally during the test flight and reached an apogee of 5 km. RASTA was the first launch vehicle flown by Gilmour Space and was the world's first demonstration of a rocket launch using 3D printed fuel.[13]

One Vision suborbital rocket

One Vision was a sub-orbital sounding rocket designed to test Gilmour Space's new mobile launch platform and their hybrid rocket engines.[14][15] On 29 July 2019, One Vision was prepared and fuelled for its maiden test flight, however, during the countdown to launch, the vehicle suffered an anomaly, resulting in a premature end to the mission. The anomaly was caused by a pressure regulator in the oxidiser tank that had failed to maintain required pressure, causing damage to the tank.[15] According to the company, after a detailed investigation into the anomaly, 15 key recommendations were implemented into the design of Eris. As part of the One Vision launch campaign, the company also designed and built a mobile rocket launch platform (as there were no commercial Australian launch sites at the time), which was successfully tested during the campaign.

Eris orbital rocket

Gilmour Space is currently developing its Eris Block 1 rocket, a three-stage small-lift launch vehicle designed to launch up to 300 kg of payload to low Earth orbit. The vehicle is known to have four of Gilmour's Sirius hybrid rocket motors propelling the first stage, another Sirius motor in its second stage, and a new Phoenix liquid rocket engine in its third stage. Eris has a height of 25m and a diameter of 2m for the first stage, which tapers at the interstage of the first and second stage to 1.5m.[16] The payload fairing has two diameter configurations, being 1.5m and 1.2m.[17]

Eris's maiden launch is targeted for 2024, pending final approvals from the Federal Government and Australian Space Agency.[4] It will be the first Australian orbital rocket to launch from Australia, and the first orbital launch attempt from Australia in over 50 years. Moreover, if successful, Eris could be the world's first hybrid rocket to achieve orbit.

Gilmour Space has revealed it is developing an Eris Block 2 vehicle capable of lifting up to 1,000 kg to low Earth orbit, which is expected to enter commercial service in 2026. The company has also unveiled future plans for an Eris Heavy variant, which would be capable of lifting 4,000 kg payloads into orbit. If built, Eris Heavy would be classified as a medium-lift launch vehicle, potentially capable of carrying human-rated spacecraft.[18]

Eris first went vertical on the launchpad on 11 April 2024 in preparation for launch,[19] but did not have a launch permit yet as of 26 May.[20]

Engine static tests

Since starting its rocket program in 2015, Gilmour Space has conducted hundreds of engine static test firings, most recently:

Engine static test firings
Date Achieved Thrust Duration Engine Name
February, 2018[21] 70 kN 4 seconds "G-70" One Vision Engine[22]
May, 2018[23] 75 kN 12 seconds Eris First/Second Stage Engine[24]
August, 2018[25] 80 kN 17 seconds Eris First/Second Stage Engine[24]
January, 2020[26] 91 kN 10 seconds Eris First/Second Stage Engine[24]
June, 2020[27] Unknown 45 seconds Eris Third Stage Engine
July, 2020[28] Unknown 110 seconds Eris Third Stage Engine
February, 2021[29] 90 kN 30 seconds Eris First/Second Stage Engine[24]
January 2022[30] 110 kN 75 seconds Eris hybrid First/Second Stage Engine
November 2022[31] 115 kN 100 seconds Eris hybrid First/Second Stage Engine

Bowen Orbital Spaceport (BOS)

In May 2021, results from an environmental and technical study conducted by the Queensland government for Abbot Point, Bowen gave Gilmour Space the green light to begin work on an orbital launch facility at located in the Abbot Point Development Area.[32]

Since then, the company has engaged with the indigenous Juru people[33][34] and local businesses to construct the Bowen Orbital Spaceport. When approved, this privately operated site will provide Gilmour Space with launch access to 20° to 65° low- to mid-inclination equatorial orbits.

Following final approvals from the Federal Government and Australian Space Agency, BOS became Australia's first commercial orbital spaceport on the 5th of March 2024,[35] with its maiden launch with Eris (also Australia's first orbital launch vehicle) planned for later in 2024.[36]

Others

In February 2018 (since lapsed), Gilmour Space signed a reimbursable Space Act Agreement with NASA to collaborate on various research, technology development and educational initiatives, including the testing of its MARS rover at Kennedy Space Center.[37]

In December 2019, Gilmour Space signed a statement of strategic intent with the Australian Space Agency as a demonstration of its commitment to launch Australia to space.[38]

In June 2022, it was confirmed that Gilmour Space had been awarded a federal Modern Manufacturing Initiative Collaboration grant to establish the Australian Space Manufacturing Network in Queensland.[39]

References

  1. ^ John Mcduling (30 May 2017). "Blackbird shoots for the moon and Mars with Gilmour Space investment". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Gilmour has eyes on the sky". AMTIL. 10 March 2023. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  3. ^ "Doorstop interview - Helensvale | Prime Minister of Australia". www.pm.gov.au. Retrieved 28 August 2023.
  4. ^ a b Gilmour Space [@GilmourSpace] (5 December 2023). "** LAUNCH UPDATE: With end of year fast-approaching and launch approvals still pending, Test Flight 1 will now attempt first orbital launch in 2024. **" (Tweet). Retrieved 5 December 2023 – via Twitter.
  5. ^ Klein, Alice (20 November 2022). "Australia's first rocket is set to launch into space in April 2023". New Scientist. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  6. ^ "Fly like Bert with new Hinkler Hall exhibition". Bundaberg Regional Council. 25 May 2017. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  7. ^ Andrew Potts (17 June 2016). "Gold Coast company aims for stars at Pimpama". Gold Coast Bulletin. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  8. ^ Jack Harbour (29 July 2016). "Gold Coast's first suborbital rocket successfully launched". Gold Coast Bulletin. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  9. ^ Space, Gilmour (30 May 2017). "Rocket startup shoots for the stars with AUD 5 million (USD 3.7 million) Series-A funding". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  10. ^ "Gilmour Space secures AUD 19 million to launch next-generation hybrid rockets to space". Gilmour Space. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  11. ^ Space, Gilmour (29 June 2021). "Gilmour Space rockets ahead with $61M Series C funding". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  12. ^ Gilmour Space - 1st RASTA hybrid rocket launch, 17 December 2019, retrieved 12 April 2021
  13. ^ hermes (3 August 2016). "3D printing taking off in emerging 'space' in Singapore". The Straits Times. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  14. ^ Space, Gilmour (1 February 2019). "Gilmour Space unveils One Vision rocket ahead of suborbital test launch". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  15. ^ a b Space, Gilmour (30 July 2019). "One Vision statement". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  16. ^ "LAUNCH". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  17. ^ "LAUNCH". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  18. ^ Hava, Chloe (20 October 2022). "Inside the countdown to Australia's first homegrown rocket launch". Create Digital. Retrieved 3 June 2024.
  19. ^ "Australia's first locally-made orbital rocket goes vertical for the first time". www.abc.net.au. 11 April 2024. Retrieved 12 April 2024.
  20. ^ "Countdown: Gilmour's long wait for a launch permit". Retrieved 24 June 2024.
  21. ^ Space, Gilmour (6 March 2018). "Australian rocket company achieves 70 kN thrust in world's largest single-port hybrid engine test". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  22. ^ "Australian rocket company achieves 70 kN thrust in world's largest single-port hybrid engine test". "This G-70 engine will be powering our next rocket to the edge of space in the second quarter of 2018..."
  23. ^ Space, Gilmour (29 May 2018). "Gilmour Space prepares for suborbital hybrid rocket launch with 75 kN (16,900 lbs) test-fire". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  24. ^ a b c d "New Year, new record". "This is the engine that will be powering the first and second stages of our Eris orbital vehicle..."
  25. ^ Space, Gilmour (19 August 2018). "Gilmour Space achieves record 80 kN thrust in hybrid rocket engine test". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  26. ^ Space, Gilmour (19 January 2021). "New Year, new record". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  27. ^ Space, Gilmour (24 June 2020). "Gilmour Space achieves 45-second hybrid rocket engine test fire". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  28. ^ Space, Gilmour (12 July 2020). "Gilmour Space achieves successful 110-second mission duty cycle test fire". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  29. ^ Space, Gilmour (19 February 2021). "Gilmour Space's 30-second, 90 kN thrust hotfire". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  30. ^ Gilmour Space Test Fires The Largest Rocket Engine Developed In Australia Jan 2022
  31. ^ Gilmour Space completes final qualification test of Sirius hybrid rocket engine Nov 2022
  32. ^ Alexandra Cooper (21 May 2021). "Gilmour Space to build Abbot Point rocket launch site". Manufacturers' Monthly. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  33. ^ Space, Gilmour (14 December 2021). "Juru Traditional Owners support rocket launches from Bowen". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  34. ^ Space, Gilmour (7 March 2022). "Juru Smoke Ceremony Ushers in a New Space Future for QLD, Australia". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  35. ^ "Green Light for First Australian Orbital Spaceport in Bowen, QLD". www.gspace.com. 5 March 2024. Retrieved 26 March 2024.
  36. ^ Space, Gilmour (5 April 2024). "Gilmour Space launches Bowen Orbital Spaceport in north QLD". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  37. ^ Grubb, Ben (19 February 2018). "Aussie rocket brothers ink NASA deal as local space agency wait continues". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  38. ^ "SCALING UP FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF ROCKET TECHNOLOGY". Karen Andrews MP. 11 December 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  39. ^ Space, Gilmour (7 June 2023). "Gilmour Space confirms MMI funding for Australian Space Manufacturing Network". Gilmour Space. Retrieved 29 August 2023.

27°49′02″S 153°17′03″E / 27.8171°S 153.2842°E / -27.8171; 153.2842