Australian rocket company, Gilmour Space Technologies, has successfully hotfired the world’s largest single-port hybrid rocket engine.
“We achieved a record 91 kilonewtons (or 9 tonnes-force) of thrust in the initial verification test of our main engine,” said Adam Gilmour, CEO and Co-founder of Gilmour Space.
“This is the engine that will be powering the first and second stages of our Eris orbital vehicle as it launches into space.
“I’m happy to report that all systems performed very well during this 10-second test. Our team will be going through the results and conducting longer duration and higher thrust tests in the weeks ahead.”
Gilmour Space is a Queensland-based company that is developing a three-stage rocket that can launch small satellites into low earth orbits.
Its plan is to launch small satellites into low earth orbits from 2022.
A low earth orbit is generally within 1000 km of Earth’s surface. By comparison, commercial planes fly at altitudes around 14 km.
Satellites in low earth orbit are often used for satellite imagery and data collection because of their proximity to Earth.
The news of Gilmour’s successful test is particularly exciting for the Australian space industry.
“We are delighted by this successful hotfire test, which demonstrates Gilmour’s progress towards a successful orbital launch next year,” said Rajat Kulshrestha, Co-founder and CEO of Space Machines Company.
“Together with Space Machines Company, important sovereign launch and in-space transport capabilities for Australia are becoming a reality.”
This week, the SA government also announced plans to launch its own satellite into low earth orbit. They will be the first Australian state government to do so.