Gilmour Space Technologies has conducted a successful 110-kilonewton test firing of what it says is the most powerful rocket engine ever developed in Australia.
The 75-second test was a major milestone for the development of Gilmour’s Eris rocket, which will be equipped with five of the engines, making it capable of launching 300- to 4,000-kilogram satellites and payloads into low Earth and other orbits.
“What you see here is the main engine that will power the first and second stages of our three-stage Eris rocket to space,” explained company CEO, Adam Gilmour.
“It was a successful test. We achieved our expected full thrust of 110 kilonewtons (or 25,000 pounds-force) over the 75 seconds, and our team will be moving on to the final engine qualification campaign next month.”
Gilmour pointed out the strategic implications of the development of the engine, which, he says, is an early demonstration of what he hopes will be 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,” he added.
Gilmour added that the company is seeking approvals from state and federal government agencies to green light a small 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,” Gilmour said.
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