May 30, 2017 | By Benedict

Gilmour Space Technologies, an aerospace company based in Queensland, Australia, has raised $3.7 million (5 million AUD) in a Series A funding round led by Australian venture capital company Blackbird Ventures. Gilmour Space’s rockets use solid, 3D printed fuel.

Gilmour Space CEO Adam Gilmour with his company's Eris rocket

Although lots of aerospace companies are now using additive manufacturing to get the most out of their rockets and other space-bound systems, Gilmour Space Technologies may be the only one persevering with 3D printed fuel. It’s a funny concept, and one that doesn’t seem quite right at first glance, but Gilmour Space is clearly convincing the organizations that matter: the Queensland-based company has just raised $3.7 million in a Series A funding round.

Founded in 2013 by various members of the Gilmour family, Gilmour Space operates in both Australia and Singapore, and started building rockets in 2014. Co-founder and CEO Adam Gilmour reportedly wanted to make an accessible and affordable launch vehicle for smaller companies putting microsatellites into orbit.

One of several characteristics that sets Gilmour Space apart from competitors is its unique use of 3D printing. The company’s low-cost rockets, designed specifically for the small payload market, use a solid 3D printed fuel unlike anything else on the market. “Our proprietary rocket fuel cannot be printed with existing 3D printers,” Director Michelle Gilmour said last year.

This latest funding round was led by Blackbird Ventures, an Australian venture capital firm. Its co-founder Rick Baker described Gilmour Space as a company with “great technology and big ambitions.”

“We’ve been very impressed by the way they have aggressively built their rocket engine technology,” Baker added. “And with this capital round, we believe they could ramp up to become a leading launch provider based in Australia.”

Another investor participating in the funding round was 500 Startups, an early-stage venture fund and seed accelerator based in California. “The rapidity with which [Gilmour Space has] been able to develop their technology is making their vision of accessible and affordable small satellite launches a reality,” commented 500 Startups’ Vishal Harnal.

Gilmour Space will use its new funds to continue developing its low-cost rocket technology as it prepares for a first commercial launch into suborbital space, slated for the end of 2018. The suborbital rocket due to make that journey is named Ariel.

The startup also hopes its rockets will be capable of entering Low Earth Orbit (LEO), the altitude at which most satellites orbit, by 2020.

“Our Eris orbital launch vehicle will be able to take up to 380 kg to LEO, and more dedicated and low-cost small payload launches would enable even smaller players to make a business case for space,” said Adam Gilmour. “Eventually, we also plan to build low-cost vehicles for human spaceflight and exploration.”

Gilmour Space performed a successful test launch last year, sending a rocket up to an altitude of five kilometers.

The company’s 3D printing activity goes beyond fuel too. The aerospace company has received a grant from Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster, a government-formed initiative made to improve 3D printing manufacturing capabilities in Singapore. Gilmour Space will work with the University of Technology and Design on aerospace additive manufacturing projects.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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