Watch this space for a future Australian next-generation hybrid rocket and technologies. A collaboration between the Australian space company, Gilmour Space, and researchers at the University of Queensland (UQ) is working on a rocket that's due to launch small satellites into low-Earth orbits by 2022.
The precise focus of the collaboration is on propellant feeding systems and cycles for space launch vehicles.
The team is confident that this will be invaluable work for Australia's space industry.
Keeping it local
"Rather than buying products from overseas, the rockets and components will be manufactured in Australia, and this is an essential step towards developing a space launch vehicle industry in Queensland with many expected flow-down benefits to our manufacturing industries," Dr. Ingo Jahn of the University of Queensland said.
The UQ team is focusing their attention on developing and validating a fuel feed system, which has to remain as lightweight as possible while also meeting all control and performance requirements for the launch system.
As Dr. Jahn explained "Fuel delivery systems for rockets are one of the most complex engineering challenges."
It's no easy task, as Dr. Jahn also pointed out their challenges "They (the rockets) are located at the intersection of multiple systems; to stay light they have to be incredibly power dense, they must operate across wide temperature and pressure ranges and they are safety critical."
He continued "Finding effective and safe engineering solutions to meet all these requirements while remaining lightweight is the challenge we have to overcome."
Gilmour Space is right at the front of the line when it comes to developing next-gen hybrid rocket technologies. The Queensland-based company focuses on safety and cost-effective solutions that can hopefully be locally created.
CEO and company co-founder, James Gilmour, said "We’re grateful to UQ and the government for supporting our efforts to grow a space launch industry here in Queensland."
Dr. Jahn is hopeful about their collaboration "Seeing your research adopted into a product is the dream of every researcher and engineer - what could be better than seeing your research fly to the stars?"