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Australian Rocket Company Gilmour Space Awarded $3M Grant For Composite Tank Development
A leading Australian rocket startup, Gilmour Space Technologies, has been awarded an AUS$3 million (US$2.01 million) federal research grant to work with the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and partners including Treakle Composites on a project to design, develop, and manufacture lightweight, flight ready rocket fuel tanks called cryotanks. It is the project’s first significant funding from the government and a sign of the growing support for developing space tech in Australia.
The project brings industry and academia together to use advanced robotic filament winding using exotic materials suited to the extreme operating conditions of space. The new carbon fibre cryotanks have the potential for up to 30 percent weight saving and could cut the cost of space travel by 25 percent.
Gilmour Space CEO and founder Adam Gilmour welcomed the Federal Government funding as the company races to launch its first commercial rocket to orbit in 2022.
“We are grateful to receive this funding, which will allow us to develop world-class composite materials and components for our orbital launch vehicles – making our rockets more efficient and reducing the cost of access to space,” Gilmour said.
Professor Peter Schubel, Executive Director of USQ’s Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences, said the CRC-P funding demonstrated the success of the industry-focused collaboration.
“This is about sovereign capability – knowledge, skills and advanced facilities which will allow for the growth of the space industry and associated supply chain.”
In a media statement, Minister of Industry, Science, and Technology, Karen Andrews announced nine projects to receive CRC-P grants.
“The projects we are funding are examples of how Australian companies and universities are using research to make a real-world difference, to grow the economy and create new jobs,” Minster Andrews said.
This grant, announced by the company on 13 February 2020, was part of the latest round of the Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) grants. The project is a AUS$12.5 million (US$8.39 million) investment by the consortium with support from the Federal Government. Gilmour Space signed a strategic agreement with USQ in 2019 to collaborate on advanced rocket technology research.
South Korea has announced its intentions to launch a mission to Mars before 2046, according to the Country's new roadmap for its space mission which President Yoon Suk-yeol unveiled. The roadmap also discloses Korea's intentions to develop an engine for a launch vehicle that can fly to the moon within the next five years.