Lower Cost Rockets Mean Anyone Can Dream of Space
While its true that humans and our technology have been leaving the planet now for decades, the barrier of entry is unbelievably high. For this we can blame the Earth?s gravity well which has meant only governments have had the massive resources necessary to design and maintain rockets large enough to get to orbit. Take a nation like Australia for instance, which despite being a developed, advanced nation, has still only had one citizen make it to space. In 2018 however, the success of private space companies is radically changing this paradigm.
Most people know about SpaceX now, a private company which has developed what is currently the world?s most powerful launch rocket. But as advances in the miniaturization of technology continues, smaller and more flexible options are also being developed. One example already launching small ?cube-sats? from New Zealand is Rocket Labs, and several other private companies are also close to seeing their name positioned in the same space as government-backed agencies such as NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, JAXA and CNSA.
“Gilmour Space Technologies?is a great innovative aerospace start-up with an exciting mission and vision, fueled by excellent engineers and technology? – Professor Dava Newman, Former Deputy Administrator,?NASA, Apollo Professor of Astronautics, MIT
Soon to join the ranks of currently launching rocket companies is Australia?s Gilmour Space Technologies (GSpaceTech) founded by brothers Adam and James, which has already tested the worlds largest hybrid rocket engines with the Singapore government. These are scheduled to take payloads to 150km by Q1 2019, and low Earth orbit by 2020, thus allowing those who can?t afford or don?t need the capacity of a $350 million Delta IV Heavy launch, but can raise the approx $8-15 million that GSpaceTech?s Eris rocket will require to access space for the first time.
Companies like GSpaceTech are also having an impact economically. Current forecasts show that their work is contributing to an increase in jobs by 10,000 people as the Australian Space Industry grows, as well as 2-5 billion dollars a year additional revenue, with much of that being generated by exports. Through their Gilmour Space Academy (set to reopen in 2018 as the rocket development stage matures) they have already been part of providing much greater STEM experiences for Australian students from their self-built space training simulators and mission control room.
With a recent announcement that GSpaceTech have now also signed an agreement with NASA to work on rover testing at the Kennedy Space Center, the future looks bright for small companies not only dreaming of the stars, but making an impact back here on Earth as well.
More from Space Nation
Start training like an astronaut.
Download the Space Nation Navigator now!