Gilmour Space Technologies on Tuesday opened an email by saying, “2022 could be the year Australia gets to orbit!”. Throw in the fact Gilmour Space sent a video of a rocket test and I have to admit, this has got me pretty pumped.
The news from the Aussie rocket engineers at Gilmour Space Technologies is that they’ve successfully undertaken a 110-kilonewton test fire of what they say is the most powerful rocket engine ever developed here.
The Gilmour Space rocket test only goes for 1 minute and 15 seconds, but it’s cooooool. Check it out:
“What you see here is the main engine that will power the first and second stages of our three-stage Eris rocket to space,” said CEO of Gilmour Space, 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.”
According to Gilmour Space, this short test was a major milestone. Really, the test was a demonstration of Australia’s first sovereign launch capability. The company is developing Australian made rockets that it hopes will be capable of launching 300- to 4,000-kilogram satellites and payloads into low Earth and other orbits.
The timeframe for this is around five years.
“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,” the CEO added.
But where and when will Eris be launched?
Well, Gilmour Space is 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,” Gilmour said.