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Gilmour ramps up the force as Aussie rocket launch looms this year

Business

Gold Coast-based Gilmour Space Technologies expects to launch Australia’s first sovereign rocket by the end of the year.

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The company has just completed a successful 110-kilonewton (more than 11,300kg) force test fire of the most powerful rocket engine ever developed in Australia.

“The 75-second test was a major milestone for Gilmour Space, which is developing Australian made rockets that will, over the next five years, be capable of launching 300 to 4000-kilogram satellites and payloads into low earth and other orbits,” chief executive Adam Gilmour said.

The test firing was of the main engine that would power the first and second stages of the company’s three-stage Eris rocket to space.

“It was a successful test. We achieved our expected full thrust of 110 kilonewtons over the 75 seconds and our team will be moving on to the final engine qualification campaign next month.”

Gilmour said the test was also a demonstration of Australia’s first sovereign launch capability.

“It is no small thing to say that we’ve developed Australia’s largest rocket engine; and that it could have significant flow-on benefits for the commercial, civil and defence space sectors,” Gilmour said.

He said the company was currently seeking approvals from state and federal government agencies to green light a small orbital spaceport at the Abbot Point state development area in Bowen, north Queensland.

“With timely assessments and approvals from relevant authorities, we hope to be able to launch Australia’s first sovereign-made rocket from Queensland sometime in the latter half of 2022.”

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