Queensland rocket and satellite company, Gilmour Space, will launch Australia’s first ‘Caravan’ to space in late 2024, with a payload of multiple satellites for low earth orbits (LEO), as part of a “rideshare” model for other space startups.
CEO and cofounder Adam Gilmour said that unlike most rocket launches which host a primary customer payload, a rideshare launch comprises of many customer payloads such as cubesats, microsats and other small spacecraft.
“Called Caravan-1, this mission will provide affordable access to new space customers looking to launch into a mid-inclination orbit at the end of 2024,” he said.
“Caravan-1 will launch in 2024 on our upgraded Eris Block 2 rocket, which will have a lift capacity of one tonne or 1,000 kilograms to LEO — a significant upgrade in launch capability and capacity for our customers,”
The VC-backed space tech startup, which raised $61 million in a Series C in June 2021, is developing environmentally friendly Australian rockets to launch spacecraft into low earth orbit, with the first take off planned for early 2023 from the Bowen Orbital Spaceport Gilmour has developed in Queensland.
Gilmour Space Technologies has also signed a deal with mobile satellite communications company Inmarsat, to use its InRange product, which provides rapid, responsive and cost-effective launch telemetry from space, removing the need to construct and maintain costly terrestrial launch infrastructure at down range ground stations.
“Our Eris rocket, which is targeted to launch early next year, will be Australia’s first orbital rocket and first orbital launch attempt from a commercial Australian launch site,” Adam Gilmour said.
“We are also developing the Bowen Orbital Spaceport in north Queensland, and it’s been fantastic to work with Inmarsat as a well-established partner to help us demonstrate space-based telemetry for our first and future Eris launches from Australia.”
Gilmour added that Caravan-1 customers in 2024 will also have the option of using a standard 15-inch adaptor port, and/or leveraging on Gilmour Space’s modular satellite platform, called the G-Sat, for individual payloads.
“The next few years are going to be a very exciting time for the global space industry, and missions like this will allow us to support the growth of new satellite and in-orbit technologies that could benefit humanity on Earth, in space, and beyond,” he said.