Australian rocket company Gilmour Space Technologies plans to take on billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos as the country prepares to expand its sovereign launch capabilities in the midst of a global space race.
As the two American billionaires pour money into massive interplanetary projects, and nations including China and Russia accelerate new exploratory missions, Gilmour CEO and co-founder Adam Gilmour said the real excitement is happening at a smaller scale.
“The billionaires have been focused on very, very big rockets, but that’s not where we see the big revenue in the space industry. Where we see it is in taking smaller satellites up and deploying multiple satellites in a constellation,” he said.
“We think the bulk of the money is in the small end of town, and that’s definitely where Australia can slot in very nicely.”
Not only that, but the huge boom in space technology overseas means Australia needs homegrown companies with launch capabilities, Mr Gilmour said.
“The world is changing, threats from the north are increasing. It’s not the case that you can just take for granted that other countries are going to launch stuff into space for our benefit going forward. So it is important that Australia has the ability to take payloads up and put technology in space.”
Gilmour’s Eris vehicles are due to begin launching from Queensland and potentially South Australia in 2022, delivering satellites or other payloads to specific low earth orbits. Its rockets use a special hybrid fuel that it says gives it an edge over a number of competitors when it comes to efficiency, and allows for low-cost launches of payloads up to the size of a small fridge.
Customers already signed up include communications infrastructure firm SpaceLink and military sensor company DEWC Systems, but Mr Gilmour expects the number and diversity of Australian companies looking to place tech in space will increase.
This Article firstly Publish on www.smh.com.au