Eris Rocket: Gilmour Space’s Innovative Orbital Launch Vehicle

13th Mar 2021

Australian aerospace company Gilmour Space Technologies is developing the Eris rocket – a new class of lightweight launch vehicle powered by hybrid engines. The Eris three-stage rocket has shown promising performance.

Gilmour Space – leading space launcher in Australia

Gilmour Space Technologies has been in the space industry since 2012. The company was founded by former financier and banker Adam Gilmour, who finally decided that his true calling is space. Initially, the company was headquartered in Singapore but then moved to Gilmour’s hometown of Queensland, Australia.

Gilmour Space’s mission is to make space cargo launch services as affordable as possible. Therefore, the activity is focused on the creation of compact and cost-effective orbital carriers for small satellites.

Today the main development of Gilmour Space is the Eris orbital launch vehicle. It is now undergoing a testing phase, and the first launch is scheduled for 2022.

Eris is not the company’s first rocket. In June 2016, Gilmour Space Technologies successfully launched its first RASTA suborbital hybrid rocket, which could ascend to an altitude of 5 kilometres. It was the first success for an Australian private company. In 2019, an attempt was made to launch a second One Vision rocket, but it failed. The cause was an anomaly in the pressure system, due to which the launch was cancelled. A detailed investigation of the incident led to 15 recommendations, which were all taken into account when developing Eris.

What is Eris?

Since 2019, Gilmour Space has completely focused on Eris. The following characteristics are declared for the Eris launch vehicle:

  • Height – 25 metres
  • 3 stages
  • Diameter – 1.2 to 2 metres in different sections;
  • Payload – 215-305 kg
  • Delivery to SSO and equatorial orbits up to 500 km
  • Will be used as a Rideshare vehicle

Gilmour Space Technologies developed its own algorithms and avionics control systems for the rocket, as well as a power plant. It is Gilmour’s patented new hybrid rocket engine format that runs on liquid and solid fuels. In February, the engine was successfully tested at 90 kN thrust.

Future Plans

Despite the fact that the rocket is still undergoing testing, Adam Gilmour promises that its first commercial launch will take place in 2022.

His statements are not baseless: over the past three years, the startup has made great progress. A private launch pad was built in Queensland. A memorandum of cooperation was signed with the Australian Space Agency. A grant of $3 million was received from research centres, and the first launch service contract was signed. Australian startup Space Machines will send its first 35 kg spacecraft to Eris.

If successful, the launch will mark the first time in history that an Australian payload has departed from an Australian launch pad on an Australian rocket and by 2025, Gilmour Space promises to do 15 Eris rocket launches a year.

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