Australian rocket company Gilmour Space is emerging as a world leader in hybrid rocket technology.
In 2015, brothers Adam and James Gilmour launched a venture-backed rocket company and developed hybrid propulsion technologies that would usher in a new breed of lower-cost rockets. Their mission: to provide cost-effective small satellite access to space.
A year later, Gilmour Space launched Australia’s first privately developed hybrid rocket. By the time the company raised its first venture capital round in 2017, the team discovered the “missing ingredient” that would make hybrid rocket engines work. While the majority of commercial rockets use either solid or liquid-fuelled engines, Gilmour Space’s hybrid engine combines a liquid oxidizer with a proprietary solid fuel.
“We’ve developed a rocket engine technology that we can easily scale up to produce high thrust rocket engines at a fraction of the cost,” says Adam.
Based in Queensland, Gilmour Space has attracted a number of international rocket engineers to the company and has agreements with leading space organizations such as NASA and the Australian Space Agency. The team believes humans are destined to live and work in space and has a goal to discover “the farthest edges of our solar system”.
“Our mission is to go to space; to go to all orbits and all planets,” says Adam.
Since launching its first hybrid rocket, Gilmour Space with its significant accomplishments has become a world leader in orbital-class hybrid propulsion technologies and raised a total of A$87 million in funding.
With a successful large engine test in January 2022, Gilmour Space is on track to launch small satellites to orbit in the next 12 months. These Australian-made satellites have the potential to be used for detecting bushfires, monitoring crop health, and improving mobile and internet coverage from space. Looking ahead, the company hopes to deliver a rocket that can take people to space by 2025.
With each new milestone achieved, Gilmour Space continues to be at the forefront of cutting-edge space technology, which Adam says is helping to put Australia on the map as a “very large player in the space industry”.
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