UK’s Equipmake to supply e-motors for Gilmour’s Eris rocket


Australian venture-backed rocket company Gilmour Space Technologies has announced UK-based electrification business Equipmake as a supplier of electric motors and inverters for the upcoming Eris rocket launch, after work on the project between the pair that began in late-2020.

According to its website, Equipmake was established in 1997 by former Formula 1 engineer Ian Foley, with Williams F1 an early customer, work last year on the powertrain for the Jewel E all-electric double-decker bus, and customers in industries including automotive, aerospace and construction.

Gold Coast-based Gilmour said in a joint statement on Tuesday that it had partnered with Equipmake while seeking “design, engineer and supply a bespoke electric motor and inverter system” to integrate with its Eris rockets, the first of which is planned for a 2023 launch. 

It describes the electric motor as featuring Equipmake’s proprietary rotor design, “where the permanent magnets are arranged like the spokes of a wheel to deliver a significant performance advantage in a very challenging operating environment.”

“Developing the extremely lightweight, exceptionally high-energy-density electric motor and inverter unit was one of the most challenging and most exciting projects we have undertaken at Equipmake,” said Foley.

Adam Gilmour, Gilmour’s co-founder and CEO, said: “The team at Equipmake has been great to work with in regard to their flexible, agile approach and ‘can-do’ attitude to… [completing] the design, build and test of this new electric motor.”

Eris is a three-stage rocket which, according to Gilmour Space, “will deliver up to 305 kg to LEO with a first commercial launch expected in early 2023.”

The news follows an announcement last month that Gilmour has selected Inmarsat – another UK-based company – to provide space-based telemetry services.

Gilmour is currently developing the Bowen Orbital Spaceport in north Queensland, which it plans to use to offer launches into low- to mid-inclination orbits, with a further site at Whalers Way in South Australia to provide polar orbits.

Picture: supplied


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