Queensland-based Black Sky Aerospace has been given the green light by regulators to begin the process towards the manufacture of solid rocket motors.
The South-East Queensland space company, based in the City of Logan, will be the first manufacturer of its kind in Australia and will be able to provide access to solid fuels for orbital and suborbital launch vehicles.
Solid rocket motors (SRMs) are the fuel (propellant) that boosts rockets into space, such as the boosters on the space shuttle, and is the preferred fuel to use by many space launch companies due to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness.
SRMs are particularly useful, too, in the ever-emerging market that requires responsive access to space. This is because SRMs have a long shelf life and can be stockpiled with little upkeep, yet still be ready to use many months or years later.
Director of Black Sky, Blake Nikolic explained, “Our propulsion arm is integral to the bigger picture for us; without fuel, the industry stalls. Our SRM manufacturing provides industry with accessible rocket boosters, made right here in Queensland.”
Black Sky Aerospace has spent several years planning to step its operation over from the US to New Zealand, to its now permanent home in Logan, Queensland; opening both domestic and international markets for the product.
“This also allows us to continue with our testing and launch capabilities that we carry out at our facility in Goondiwindi,” Nikolic added.
The one-stop shop for SRM, testing and launch will make the logistics of space work and research far less challenging for companies looking to send their payloads in to lower-Earth orbit.
Logan City Council Director of Strategy and Sustainability, David Hansen, applauded Black Sky’s latest achievement and said Logan is positioning itself as a world-class innovation city.
“City of Logan continues to punch above its weight when it comes to tech and innovation companies launching big ideas – and rockets. Council is a proud supporter of Black Sky Aerospace and seeing its trajectory from start-up to become a scaled-up manufacturer and leading exporter is exciting for the city,” Hansen said.
“The direct economic impact means more jobs for Logan, but it also puts the city on the international map as a reputable base for the future of the aerospace industry,” Hansen added.
The first batch of solid rocket motors is expected to be ready for delivery before the end of 2019.
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