Gilmour Space Technologies, the Australian and Singaporean New Space commercial launch company, conducted its second static test-firing of its proprietary hybrid rocket engine on 28 May 2018, the company announced.
“This was a 12-second static fire of what will be our first-stage orbital rocket engine. It demonstrated stable thrust, and peaked at 75 kilonewtons (or 16,900 pounds) of force,” said the company’s CEO and Founder, Adam Gilmour.
“75 kN marks a new record for this engine, and is more than what we will need for our coming suborbital and orbital launches,” he added.
This latest static fire test’s success boosts the hopes of the New Space company that it is one step closer to providing commercial space launch from Australia. Gilmour Space plans to carry out a suborbital test launch in the third quarter of 2018 from a private property in Queensland, Australia, and is currently working with the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to that end.
“The next launch will be the flight test of a full-scale engine, which we plan to use in the first stage of our Eris orbital rocket.”
Eris is the three-stage hybrid rocket dedicated to launching small satellites (up to 400 kg) to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) that Gilmour Space hopes to launch by 2020.
“It will also be a test of our mobile launch platform, which we’ve designed to enable rapid and low-cost launches from remote locations,” Gilmour said. “Interestingly, this capability for responsive launch is one that other countries like the U.S., Europe, and UK are trying very hard to develop right now.”
The successful static fire test comes only weeks after the Australian government officially announced the creation of an Australian space agency, a development that Gilmour Space hopes to capitalise on.
“With Gilmour Space’s technology and low-cost launch capabilities, small satellite launches could easily be a ‘low-hanging fruit’ for Australia. Our significant progress puts us as one of the front-runners in today’s global small launch market, and we look forward to working with commercial, civil and defence partners to build a stronger and more vibrant domestic space industry in Australia and Singapore,” said Gilmour.