PM hails Gilmour as ‘Australian success story’
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has hailed Gilmour Space as a “great Australian success story” during a visit to its factory on the Gold Coast.
The Labor leader made the comments as he formally unveiled the business’ Eris rocket, which the company says is the first to use both solid and liquid propellants.
“When this rocket goes into space, it will carry 300 companies with it. Australia will become the 12th country in the world to be able to have access to this technology — designed, manufactured and built right here (on the Gold Coast) and creating high-quality jobs,” PM Albanese said.
“This is one of the companies that we’re looking at when we have our National Reconstruction Fund and that whole agenda about a future here made in Australia — making use of an Australian procurement policy to buy Australian and making sure we back Australian science and innovation.
“Australia can compete with the rest of the world. What we need to do is to back our businesses that are doing it. This is truly an Australian manufacturing success story, and we want more of them.”
Gilmour is targeting the first test launch of Eris later this year from the Bowen Orbital Spaceport in north Queensland.
“Only 11 nations have launched their own rockets into orbit, and our efforts will help to build a significant dual-use capability for Australia,” CEO Adam Gilmour said.
The launch will be a watershed moment for the Australian space industry, as the rocket is the first completely Australian orbital launch system to go into space.
Eris is also unique because its propulsion system, developed entirely by Gilmour, uses a combination of both liquid oxidiser and a proprietary solid fuel to produce a record 115 kilonewtons of efficient combustion.
The hybrid Sirius engines that will power Eris to space have been tested extensively, with Gilmour completing its final set of qualification tests of the Sirius engine in November 2022.
Adam Gilmour said earlier this year he believes Eris is the most powerful rocket ever developed in Australia.
“We’re confident it will take off the pad, but no first launch vehicle from a new company has ever successfully gone to space on the first try,” said Gilmour.
“What generally happens is the second one works, so we’re building two of them so we can learn from the first and succeed with the second.”
Following the test flights, the Eris rocket will be equipped with a range of payloads when it starts its “Block 1″missions late this year.
With a payload capacity of up to 215 kilograms, there is room for multiple different small spacecraft on the Eris rocket.
Among those that will hitch a ride to space on Eris is a specially designed thermal camera constructed by Macquarie University’s Australian Astronomical Optics department.
The camera will be integrated into a Gilmour Space satellite which will launch on Eris, and will be used for monitoring weather, water quality and detecting bushfires.