May 30, 2023

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Australia’s first commercial orbital rocket will be unique. It will conquer orbit with electric motors

Thanks to Eris, Australia can join the group of eleven countries that carry out orbital space missions

After the successful launch of the Eris rocket, it will officially be the first rocket in history with hybrid engines to reach Earth’s orbit. However, this is not a feat for the sake of completion, as the three-stage launch vehicle, which is 23 meters tall and weighs more than 30 tons, aims to provide a cost-effective and greener alternative to conventional liquid and solid rockets. Five solid fuel and liquid oxidizer hybrid engines will take care of the erection process.

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But most interesting are the advanced electric motors and converters used in this missile. They are responsible for the British company Equipmake and Gilmour Space, which began work on a unique system in 2020. Their goal was to “develop an extremely lightweight electric motor and inverter assembly with an extremely high energy density” to support Gilmour’s orbital-class Eris rocket propulsion systems, and thus Creation of a hybrid missile propulsion system. Final qualification trials for the Sirius hybrid rocket engine were recently completed ahead of Eris’ proposed April 2023 launch date, during which the engine demonstrated its ability to generate 115 kN of thrust.

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According to the leaked information, this electric motor uses a patented rotor design in which permanent magnets are arranged like the spokes of a wheel. This solution provides a significant performance advantage in a very demanding operating environment and outperforms other solutions. Therefore, in the coming years, Gilmour Space plans to use its work and launch larger rockets with payloads of up to 1000 kilograms into low Earth orbit. Of course, provided that the first flight is completed successfully.

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