spaceconnect logo

Gilmour to carry bushfire-detecting payload for Macquarie

Charbel Kadib
Gilmour to carry bushfire-detecting payload for Macquarie

Gilmour Space Technologies has agreed a deal with Macquarie University to carry its pioneering thermal camera to space next year.

The Queensland business said the payload, made by the university’s Australian Astronomical Optics (AAO) department, could be used for a variety of applications, including detecting bushfires and water quality and weather monitoring.

AAO Macquarie’s project lead, Dr Lee Spitler said, “The payload will be integrated into a Gilmour Space satellite which is slated for launch in late 2023.

“The data collected from the thermal camera payload will allow the exploration of a new approach to collecting imaging data.


“The agreement marks an exciting new chapter for the AAO, as our team of experts can expand their skills and remits to support the growing interest in space exploration.”

Gilmour specialises in creating orbital-class hybrid propulsion technologies, which are safer and cheaper than traditional rockets.

It’s aiming to begin launch next year after recently completing the final set of tests for its Sirius rocket engine, which will power its Eris rocket.

The blast-off of Eris will be the first attempt at an orbital launch by an Australian-designed and constructed rocket.


The Sirius engine, meanwhile, is a hybrid rocket engine that uses both a liquid oxidiser and a proprietary solid fuel.

According to the company, it will provide a more cost-effective, efficient, and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional engines.

Adam Gilmour, chief executive and founder of Gilmour Space, spoke about the engine following the test.

“What you see here is Sirius, our main hybrid rocket engine, five of which will power the first and second stages of our Eris rocket to orbit in the first half of 2023,” Gilmour said.

“As this was a final qualification test, we decided to test our engine to destruction to help us understand the limits of its design.

“Any findings will help improve the performance of future engines.

“I’m happy to share that the test was a success. Our Sirius engine generated a record 115 kilonewtons (or 25,850 pounds force) of stable and efficient combustion.

“This is the most powerful rocket engine ever developed in Australia. And it achieved its mission duration requirement before failure.

“All engines are now qualified for our orbital test launch next year.”

Gilmour Space, which is based in Queensland, plans to situate itself as one of the premier Australian launch providers.

Its “Block 1” Eris rocket will have a payload capacity of up to 215 kilograms and will launch payloads into a 500-kilometre sun-synchronous orbit.

The company has chosen Bowen, Queensland, as the location for the construction of its orbital spaceport, where it will launch Eris next year.

Receive the latest developments and updates on Australia’s space industry direct to your inbox. Subscribe today to Space Connect here.

Receive the latest developments and updates on Australia’s space industry direct to your inbox. Subscribe today to Space Connect.