Gilmour Space to collaborate with USQ on rocket research

Max Blenkin

Queensland rocket company Gilmour Space Technologies has signed an agreement with the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) to collaborate on advanced rocket technology research.

Gilmour co-founder James Gilmour said the initial focus for this research partnership would be to develop space-grade composite capabilities and to explore new rocket test facilities in Queensland.

“We have some exciting projects in the pipeline with USQ,” he said.

“We believe it’s important to provide more pathways for bright young minds to get involved locally in the global space industry without having to leave the country. And we want to play our part in building this future-ready industry for Queensland and Australia.”

Gilmour, based on the Gold Coast, is developing new hybrid-propelled rockets for commercial small satellite launches beginning in 2021.



The company conducted its first launch in July 2016 with the blastoff of the prototype “reusable ascent separation article” (RASTA), which reached a height of about 5,000 metres.

Another trial launch is to be conducted this year.

“This research partnership is a perfect match of space-related capabilities between industry and academia to develop advanced automated composite manufacturing, hypersonics, high temperature flow diagnostics, rocket fuel analysis and satellite tracking,” said Professor Peter Schubel, executive director of the USQ Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences, said.

“USQ’s unique facilities such as the long duration hypersonic wind tunnel, solid rocket fuel manufacturing facility, composite cryotank expertise and Mt Kent Observatory place USQ as a leading space research institute in Australia, aligned to the needs of the fast-paced space industry.”

Gilmour Space and USQ are no strangers to collaboration, having engaged with NASA and others on separate projects over the years.

USQ and Gilmour Space, along with other national and international partners, are also developing STEM-related activities to encourage and train the next generation of space scientists and engineers.

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