RESEARCH COLLABORATIONS

USQ’s partnership aims to cut space travel cost

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USW's partnership will conduct research in new rocket fuel tank technology that can significantly reduce the cost of space travel.


By U2B Staff 

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USQ’s partnership with Gilmour Space receives a $3 million grant from the Australian government to intensify its research in new rocket fuel tank technology that can significantly reduce the cost of space travel.

This project, which is a collaboration between Gilmour Space, an Australian start-up, USC and Teakle Composites aims to create lightweight rocket fuel tanks. This research will significantly improve rocket technology by reducing the cost involved in the launch process, thus improving access to space travel.

The funding will be used to develop “cryotanks” which are lightweight rocket fuel tanks. These flight-ready tanks could reduce up the weight of current designs by up to 30%.

These tanks, which will be used to contain super-cold fuel will be made of carbon fiber, which is set to be wound using a robot designed for the purpose, using “exotic” filament materials that can stand up to extreme temperatures, radiation and other stresses of space. This mass reduction will save up to 25% off the cost of launch.

 

This research will significantly improve rocket technology by shaving off the cost involved in the launch process.

Gilmour Space and USQ entered a strategic partnership last year with an initial total investment of $12.5 million from the Australian government. Besides this project, the partners also conduct research on hybrid fuels and other areas.

The research done by these partners will fundamentally support Gilmour’s plan to launch its first commercial rocket into orbit sometime in 2022.

Gilmour Space aims to make space a more accessible territory by reducing the cost involved in launching rockets. The company’s strategy in achieving this target is by changing the cost dynamics of fundamental components of the rocket system, despite the cost incurred through research.

Gilmour Space has worked with NASA and has developed a commercial use mobile launch platform for flexible, fast launch capabilities last year. The company has spent the past seven years launching a hybrid rocket powered by 3D-printed fuel in 2016.

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CEO and founder of Gilmour Space Adam Gilmour welcomed the government funding as the company races to launch its first commercial rocket to orbit.

Gilmour said, “We are grateful to receive this funding, which will allow us to  develop world-class composite materials and components for our orbital  launch vehicles – making our rockets more efficient and reducing the  cost of access to space.”

Executive Director of USQ’s Institute for  Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences, Peter Schubel said that the funding demonstrated the success of the industry-focused collaboration.

“This is about sovereign capability – knowledge, skills and advanced facilities which will allow for the growth of the space industry and associated supply chain.”