Gilmour Space Technologies announced the successful test firing of the most powerful rocket engine ever developed in Australia. The test fire was a 75 second test with the company achieving the expected full thrust of 110 kilonewtons (or 25,000 pounds-force). The next step for the company is the final engine qualification campaign next month. The success of the test fire is a major milestone for Gilmour Space, which is developing rockets that will, over the next five years, be capable of launching 300- to 4,000-kilogram satellites and payloads into low earth and other orbits.
In a statement released by the company, CEO Adam Gilmour has said, “What you see here is the main engine that will power the first and second stages of our three-stage Eris rocket to space. With timely assessments and approvals from relevant authorities, we hope to be able to launch Australia’s first orbital rocket from Queensland sometime in the latter half of 2022.” Gilmour added that the development of Australia’s largest rocket engine is no small feat and could translate into significant flow-on benefits for the commercial, civil and defence space sectors.
For Adam Gilmour, the test is also a demonstration of Australia’s first sovereign launch capability. Currently, Gilmour Space is in the process of 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.