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Advance Queensland support for new rocket propulsion technology


Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business The Honourable Leeanne Enoch Media Statements:

Sunday, September 03, 2017 - New rocket propulsion technology being developed with Palaszczuk Government support could see Queensland successfully competing in the space race as early as 2020.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business Leeanne Enoch today (Sunday) congratulated Gold Coast-based Gilmour Space Technologies Pty Ltd on securing an Advance Queensland Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) grant.

Ms Enoch said the grant will assist the space technology company to employ an engineering graduate from The University of Queensland (UQ) for 12 months to help research, develop and test a hybrid fuel catalyst pack for commercial rockets.

"This is a milestone in the development of a viable space industry for our nation," Ms Enoch said.

"Over the next decade we will see a huge increase in the number of commercial applications for small satellites and this research and development will help Queensland secure a niche in this evolving sector of the lucrative global space industry.”

The company is planning to launch two sounding rockets during the course of the 12-month development and testing program.

An initial launch to an altitude of 70 km is planned for the first quarter of 2018, subject to regulatory and launch approvals. A second to an altitude of 100 km is slated for fourth quarter 2018.

"While Queensland has the know-how, we haven't been able to compete with the big international space agencies – it has simply cost too much to deliver a payload into orbit,” Ms Enoch said.

"Thanks to Advance Queensland support, the fuel catalyst technology being developed will help Gilmour Space Technologies deliver payloads at a competitive price. It will also help launch a robust and reliable space and rocket program in our state."

Gilmour Space Technologies Director James Gilmour said: "This testing will help us perfect our fuel catalyst technology, allowing us to launch significantly larger rockets to much higher altitudes, and with cost savings that we can pass onto customers.

"We've been fortunate to source a graduate engineer from UQ, which has first class aerospace testing facilities. Our graduate engineer will bring fresh insights into both the existing and future challenges associated with our integrated program of work.

"This support from Advance Queensland will help keep our development of innovative technology on track for the launch of commercial rockets into low earth orbit by 2020. The technology we develop over the next 12 months will also help us achieve our longer term goal of building vehicles capable of supporting human spaceflight and exploration."

Gilmour Space Technologies, who received $50,000 under round seven of KTP, is one of three successful recipients with:

  • The 400 Co – awarded $30,000 to partner with the Queensland University of Technology for the development of an innovative, customised online retail experience targeting business women

  • Becker Helicopter Services – awarded $50,000 to partner with the University of the Sunshine Coast for the design and testing of a virtual reality aviation training system for helicopter aircrew.

Advance Queensland is the Palaszczuk Government’s $420 million whole-of-government initiative, supporting jobs across a range of industry sectors.

The Advance Queensland Knowledge Transfer Partnerships program supports knowledge transfer between startups and small to medium businesses and recent graduates. It also helps form new collaborations with partnering universities that will increase skilled job opportunities for Queenslanders.

Visit the Advance Queensland website for more information about the KTP program and the Advance Queensland Business Grants and Assistance Finder to learn about other programs supporting innovation, business growth and jobs.



Michelle Gilmour

Director, Marketing & Communications

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